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African American Teenage Pregnancy Cases

Teen parents often rely on their parents or public assistance to sustain them and their children. The parents of teen parents may themselves be overburdened financially and/or on public assistance. Public assistance is not an answer, according to Ladner, an African-American professor of social work and vice president for academic affairs at Howard University. She maintains that "public assistance does little in terms of providing economic stability and increasing economic status for families. In fact, it is seen by some as a causal factor in family and economic destabilization." A common perception of those who receive public assistance is that it is a crutch they learn to rely on, often resulting in a false sense of security characterized by dependency and complacency. Unfortunately, teens--let alone their parents, who may be poor themselves, whether they receive public assistance or belong to the working poor--rarely understand the "system" and how it works. African-Americans see a system of the "double standard," that is to say, a system that provides unequal access to opportunities (jobs, housing, education) on the one hand, and public assistance offering immediate gratification without many responsibilities on the other.

The public views teenage pregnancy as a certain path to poverty and welfare dependency. This observation is borne out by experience: the earlier a teen becomes a parent with little or no family support, the more likely the teen parent and child are to face a bleak economic future. Further, according to Furstenberg, the family size is also a predictor of receiving public assistance. Other factors, such as living in unsafe neighborhoods, attending poor quality schools, associating with peers who do not value education, and early sexual activity are equally compelling factors.

Education is viewed as an escape from poverty, yet to the poor, it may seem elusive. The dropout rate among African-Americans h...

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African American Teenage Pregnancy Cases. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 15:21, November 25, 2015, from
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