Giving Compass’ Take:
• Urban Institute research analyzed how young parents are balancing obtaining degrees and taking care of their children at the same time.
•The study identified that childcare assistance was one of the top concerns for young parents struggling to balance their responsibilities. How can donors help support parents’ needs?
• Discover more research about helping adult learners get a degree.
Millions of kids in the US have a young parent trying to carry out a herculean task: balancing work, school, and parenting. Recent Urban Institute research and a new digital feature aim to learn more about the needs of these young parents (those who had their first child when they were younger than 25) and their children.
We find that young parents who take on this challenge can benefit in the long term. Each 10 percent increase in time parents spend combining work and education is associated with a $4,500 increase in annual family income when they’re 30 (though there are many factors at play).
But we also find that child care is a key factor in parents’ ability to achieve this balancing act. Our analysis of national data examining how these young parents care for their children finds the following:
- The children of young parents balancing work with education or training are more disadvantaged than children overall.
- These young parents spend a lot of time at work and at school.
- Most of these young parents are in work or school during hours outside the standard workday.
- Young parents balancing work and school who pay for child care have a significant financial burden.
These findings show it’s important that children of these young parents get what they need to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, our research suggests that public policies are often not designed to support these young parents’ efforts to ensure their children’s well-being.
In addition to the costs, parents in education or training face challenges trying to access child care assistance, according to our Bridging the Gap research. Many states have child care assistance eligibility rules that create obstacles for parents or don’t prioritize these families for child care assistance funds.
Read the full article about young parents work and education by Gina Adams at Urban Institute.
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