Steps to Success: Implementing a Home Visiting Program Designed to Prevent Rapid Repeat Pregnancies Among Adolescent Mothers

OPRE Brief #2017-81
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jan 26, 2018
Robert G. Wood and Ellen Kisker

Key Findings:

  • Steps to Success in San Angelo, Texas was designed to address repeat pregnancy among adolescent mothers by supplementing a traditional home visiting model with counseling on contraception and adequate birth spacing, as well as education and career planning. Steps to Success offers weekly visits with families for a longer period than the traditional program, as well as places a high-priority on engaging fathers in home visits as appropriate.
  • The participant population was primarily adolescent mothers who were Hispanic, English Speaking, 18 or older, and in a romantic relationship with the baby’s father at program entry. Forty-three percent of participants were pregnant; the rest were recruited within a few months of the birth of their baby. Poverty and limited social support networks were common among participants.
  • Steps to Success provided substantially more support than the traditional home visiting program offered to the control group, 20 versus 12 home visits, on average, during families’ their first year in the program. Steps to Success also engaged more fathers in home visits than the traditional home visiting program did. Steps to Success visits covered employment, career planning, contraception, and adequate birth spacing, topics that were not covered in the traditional program.
This brief summarizes the key findings on implementing Steps to Success in San Angelo Texas. The program is being operated as part of a research study in which young mothers are randomly assigned to receive one of two home visiting interventions, a traditional program focused on parenting and child development, and Steps to Success, focused on contraception and adequate birth spacing, as well as parenting and child development. The brief draws on a previously published report and is part of a multi-component evaluation of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), led by Mathematica for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. PREP provides federal funding to educate youth on abstinence and contraception.