Thirty perecent of expecting or parenting teens in Massachusetts , male and female, were homeless between June 2012 and this past July. That translates to about 2500 pregnant and parenting teenage girls according to a new report by The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. The Alliance used data from service providers and the state. Elizabeth Peck, the Alliance’s Public Policy Director, says many of the teens were abused at some point in their lives.
“We know from these data young families carry really heavy histories of abuse and neglect and family conflict. And shines a light on the importance of making sure we have the right kind of support in place for these young people.”
Peck says the Alliance is recommending more state funding for teen-specific shelters — adding more beds to existing programs, and extending the eligibility for pregnant teens.
“A teen has to be about six months along in her pregnancy in order to be eligible for the teen living shelter program. and that’s because the eligibility rules are tied to welfare eligibility rules.”
Teen fathers are more often shut out of these shelters. Peck wants to change that. Holyoke and Springfield are among the cities in Massachusetts with the highest teen pregnancy rates.