On Foster Care

Teen Pregnancy and Foster Care

Teen pregnancy affects the foster care system in two major ways: teens in foster care are more likely to become pregnant, and babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be placed in foster care. Investing in prevention would mean fewer children in foster care and less stress on the foster care system.

Making the Connection: Teen Pregnancy and Healthy Children & Families

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  • Teen girls in foster care are 2.5 times more likely to experience a pregnancy than their peers not in foster care. 
  • Teen mothers aged 17 and younger are 2.2 times more likely to have a child placed in foster care than mothers who delay childbearing until age 20 or 21.
  • There are more than 7,500 children in foster care in South Carolina.
  • 6% of Medicaid enrolled 18-19 year olds who became pregnant in 2006 were in foster care as children.

The Transition out of Foster Care

The shift from foster care to adulthood is challenging for many youth, especially if they are teen parents. One study of teen parents formerly in foster care found that:

Nearly 75% of teen parents formerly in foster care are unemployed.

  • 75% were unemployed
  • Nearly 25% had been convicted of a crime after leaving foster care
  • 71% received need-based government assistance

We cannot afford to ignore the overburdened foster care system in South Carolina. An investment in teen pregnancy prevention will improve foster care conditions in addition to saving taxpayers millions.

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