Child Welfare

Ohio Missing Opportunities to Give Young Adult Parents and Their Kids a Boost

For Immediate Release
September 26, 2018

For More Information Contact:

Nikki Thomas, Manager, Research and Data

Tracy Nájera
614-221-2244 ext. 203

New Casey Foundation report illuminates needs and barriers facing Ohio’s young parents and their children

 COLUMBUS, Ohio — With limited access to opportunities to advance their education and find family-sustaining jobs, Ohio’s 123,000 young adult parents face hurdles to support their children and fulfill their own potential, according to Opening Doors for Young Parents, the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT grantee in Ohio, Children’s Defense Fund – Ohio, joined the call for action so these young parents can contribute to the state’s communities and economy. The fifty-state report reveals that, at 12 percent, Ohio is above the national average (10 percent) of youth ages 18 to 24 who are also young parents.

The report highlights the following statewide trends and areas of concern:

  • 144,000 children in Ohio have young parents ages 18 to 24.
  • 73 percent of children of young parents in Ohio live in low-income families, which is above the national average.
  • Only 11 percent of young parents ages 18 to 24 have completed an associate degree or higher.
  • 36 percent of Ohio’s young parents are people of color, facing challenges exacerbated by discrimination and systemic inequities, with their children standing to suffer the most.

“Ohio has seen an increase in high school graduation rates and a decrease in teen births, but many children are born to young parents who lack the education and skill set needed to sustain a family in today’s economy, and these children represent the poorest segment of our state’s population,” said Tracy Nájera, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund – Ohio. “Young parents and their children need better access to high quality, affordable child care, which supports children during an important period of development and supports young parents as they pursue employment and educational opportunities to better provide for themselves and their families.”

The report spotlights a national population of more than 6 million, including 2.9 million young adult parents, ages 18 to 24, and 3.4 million children nationwide living with young parents. Opening Doors for Young Parents illuminates the most common obstacles young adult parents face, including incomplete education, lack of family-sustaining employment opportunities, lack of access to quality child care, inadequate and unstable housing and financial insecurity.

These barriers threaten not only these young adults, but also their young children, setting off a chain of diminished opportunities for two of our nation’s future generations. But the report includes recommendations for addressing the obstacles that young parents face, most of which can be driven by policy solutions at the state level.

The Casey Foundation stresses the importance of a two-generation approach to equip young parents for success. “If we don’t support young people when they become parents, we are cheating two generations out of having a positive future,” warned Casey Foundation President and CEO Patrick McCarthy. “We can help young adult parents develop the skills they need to raise their children, contribute to their communities, and drive our national economy forward.”

Children’s Defense Fund – Ohio further stresses the importance of helping the state’s young parents access educational and employment opportunities. In an increasingly competitive workforce landscape, education can make a significant difference in earning power for families. However, as the data demonstrate, young adult parents here in Ohio, like young parents nationwide, do not have the post-secondary education or specialized skills to obtain family-sustaining jobs.

Release Information

Opening Doors for Young Parents will be available September 25 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at Reporters may request an embargoed copy beginning September 18.

About the Children’s Defense Fund – Ohio

The Children’s Defense Fund’s mission is to ensure every child receives a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and makes a successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.