Community Action Program for Children: Ten Year Longitudinal ...

Community Action Program for Children: Ten Year Longitudinal ...

Ten Year Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Mothers and their Children Catholic Family Service of Calgary Louise Dean Centre Holly Charles & Brenda Simpson OBJECTIVES Background The Study Study Methods Participant Profiles Outcomes for Mothers

Outcomes for Children Discussion for Best Practices Background Dr. Clara Christie Learning Centre There is growing conviction that education is key to avoidance of the poverty unemployment cycle that entraps young mothers. The logistic, transportation, and coordination problems of care for children is often too much to allow continuance in educational programs. Many, in spite of good intentions, become school dropouts. Dr. Clara Christie Learning Centre report

Dr. Clara Christie Learning Centre Due to limited space, only the highest risk parents are able to access the Learning Centre. Emphasis is placed on Safe and healthy child development; Healthy parent/child bonding & attachment; Positive nurturing parenting practices. Short-term Outcomes

Program evaluations consistently indicate positive short-term impacts. Healthy birth weights Child development Gains in education Mother and infant health

Improved parenting skills Reduced environmental risk factors (e.g. improved housing, income, social support, life style issues) Ten Year Follow Up Study of Adolescent Mothers and Their Children To explore the longer term life path and outcomes for high risk adolescent mothers and their children who participated in holistic wrap-around programming at Louise Dean Centre. Study Questions

The Study wanted to determine if 1. Adolescent mothers who participated at LDC have improved socio-economic circumstances in the long term. 2. Children who have the benefit of a healthy birthweight and positive parenting demonstrate healthy child development with few serious childhood injuries, and with social skills, behaviours and academic achievements on par with their peers. 3. Mothers are able to parent with confidence in a stable family and community environment. Study Participants

Adolescent mothers at LDC between 1995 2004 whose children had stayed at least three months. Sample of qualifying files were drawn from the overall LDC population with a target of 8 participants for each year from 1995-2004. Methods Study participants were contacted by phone.

Contacted participants helped recruit other women on the sampling list. Researchers set up a Facebook site to invite contact from participants who accessed the Dr. Christie Learning Centre. Methods Survey launched in March 2007

Purposely aligned with relevant questions and scales on the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY). Mothers survey consisted of 131 questions, including 5 scales: Childrens survey consists of 71 questions and 3 scales: Depression;

Social support; Self esteem; Family functioning; Parenting. Behaviour; Literacy; Child development. Method 71

women participated in a face to face interview. 73 children are included in the data set (60 school age children; 14 pre-school age). Comparative Baseline Matched comparison group/cohort from the

National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) Cycle 6 data (parents age 30 or less), Calgary Health Region statistics, and Calgary Board of Education data on Grade Level Achievement. Profile of Mothers Profile of Adolescent Mothers at Admission N = 71 Learning Issues

25% Out of School 6 to18 Months 39% Self Harm 19% Other Mental Health 15% Depression

54% Child Welfare Involved 35% Lifestyle Issues 42% Alcohol/Drug Use 40%

Sexual Abuse 36% Physical Abuse 43% Family Conflict 72% Housing Issues 35%

Financial Issues 94% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%

60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Profile of Mothers Interrupted Education Number of Months Out of School Before Louise Dean Centre N = 71

40% 35.7% 35% 30% 25.8% 24.2% % of participants 25% 20%

14.2% 15% 10% 5% 0% 0 months 1 to 5 months 6 to 11 months # of months out of school 12 to 18 months

Outcomes for Mothers EDUCATION LDC mothers had a high school graduation rate of 91.4% compared with 78% for NLSCY young mothers. LDC mothers were four times more likely to have some post-secondary education and had slightly higher rates of college or university completion. Outcomes for Mothers EMPLOYMENT LDC mothers were more likely to be working and worked longer hours than

NLSCY mothers. Outcomes for Mothers LDC mothers are well educated and employed but continue to be disadvantaged due to their single parent status Current Family Social Status for LDC Mothers compared to NLSCY <30 years of age 100% 90% 87.1% 81.4% 81.2%

80% 75% 68.8% 70% 61.4% 60% LDC 50% 50%

36.2% 40% NLSC 38.6% 30% 15.6% 20% 10% 0%

P ost Secondary Education Employed F amily Income > $30,000 Home Ownership Single Outcomes for Mothers HEALTH 84.3% of LDC mothers rate their general

health status as good to excellent compared to 93.8% of NLSCY mothers. LDC mothers had higher rates of depression but the difference was not statistically significant. Outcomes for Mothers SOCIAL SUPPORT LDC mothers had lower levels of social support than NLSCY mothers but the difference was not statistically significant. Outcomes for Mothers FAMILY FUNCTIONING

LDC mothers had significantly higher scores on the Family Assessment Device than NLSCY mothers indicating more challenges within their family relationships. Outcomes for Mothers PARENTING LDC parents had significantly higher scores on the positive interaction scale than NLSCY parents. They had somewhat lower scores on the Consistency scales though not statistically significant. Outcomes for Children

CHILD WELFARE INVOLVEMENT Only one child in the study group of 73 children has current Child Welfare involvement due to the childs mental health. Outcomes for Mothers USE OF OTHER COMMUNITY SUPPORTS After leaving LDC, mothers access continued support through other community resources. In some cases these resources are programs that Catholic Family Services provides through partnerships.

Outcomes for Mothers COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Rates of volunteerism are higher among LDC women than NLSCY population (although not statistically significant). 80% of Aboriginal mothers are involved in community activities. Outcomes for Children BIRTHWEIGHTS

C omparative Low B irth Weight Rat es P erc entage of Women wit h B abies <2500 grams 8.0% 6.9% 7.0% 5.7% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0%

2.8% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% LDC Mothers Calgar y General Population Calgary Mothers <20 years of age Outcomes for Children

CHILD DEVELOPMENT Children receive developmental screening assessments. 97.1% of children had no identified delays at exit from LDC. Outcomes for Children CHILD HEALTH AND INJURIES Children of LDC mothers have similar health profiles as compared to NLSCY children. There

is no significant difference in injury rates. Outcomes for Children CHILD HEALTH Children of LDC mothers have somewhat higher asthma rates (not statistically significant). The use of ventolin was significantly higher among LDC children. Outcomes for Children CHILDHOOD OBESITY For LDC children, overweight and obesity rates were lower than the national average and lower than rates found in the NLSCY

comparative group. Outcomes for Children CHILD BEHAVIOR LDC children were significantly higher on pro-social behaviour scores. They were somewhat higher on their hyperactivity scores (not significant) in comparison to the NLSCY rates. Outcomes for Children EARLY LITERACY LDC mothers started reading to their children at an earlier age on average than NLSCY mothers.

LDC mothers engaged in early literacy activities with their pre-school children more frequently than NLSCY mothers. Outcomes for Children ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE 85.7% of school age children scored At Grade Level in language arts and mathematics, a rate equivalent to that reported by Alberta Education for elementary school students. Best Practices

Collaborative wraparound services focusing on the mother/child dyad include: Health services; Education; Social work support; Early childhood services. Conclusion

Findings demonstrate that comprehensive wrap around services during pregnancy and early parenting can have significant mediating effects on health, socio economic status and parents which translate to positive outcomes for children of adolescent mothers in both the short term and the longer term. Conclusions With LDC support, young mothers did not show the negative long term profiles typically

predicted and reported by researchers. In many areas they have exceeded community norms. Conclusion With support, even the most high-risk of adolescent mothers can build a positive future for themselves and their children. CONTACT

Holly Charles or Brenda Simpson Catholic Family Service of Calgary 403 777-7635 [email protected] [email protected]

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