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Family and Youth Services Bureau skip to primary page contentAssociate Commissioner Karen Morison

Fact Sheet: Maternity Group Homes for Pregnant and Parenting Youth


Thousands of young people run away from their homes, are asked to leave their homes, or become homeless in the United States each year. The circumstances of some of these young people are complicated by the fact that they are pregnant or have already become parents. Pregnant and parenting youth need a variety of services and support in addition to basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing. They are growing up in the same ways other young people are, while at the same time learning to be effective parents.

The Federal Government funded the first emergency shelter programs for runaway and homeless youth under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974 (Public Law 93–415). Later, determining that some young people needed longer-term, supportive assistance, Congress created the Transitional Living Program for Older Homeless Youth (TLP) as part of the 1988 Amendments to the JJDPA. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which included requirements concerning the education and living arrangements of adolescent parents on welfare, generated interest in group homes specifically for homeless pregnant and parenting youth.

Today, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) funds the Maternity Group Homes Program (MGH) as part of the Transitional Living Program, under the provisions of the Runaway, Homeless, and Missing Children Protection Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-96). In FY 2007, FYSB awarded 16 grants totaling $2.9 million to local agencies to support Maternity Group Homes.


FYSB’s mission is to provide national leadership on youth and family issues. The goals of FYSB programs are to provide positive outcomes for youth, ensure their safety, and maximize their potential by supporting a wide range of comprehensive services and collaborations.

The MGH Program supports homeless pregnant and parenting young people between the ages of 16 and 21, as well as their dependant children. Services are provided for up to 18 months, and an additional 180 days is allowed for youth under 18 years old.

Maternity group homes offer an intensive array of services to meet the short- and longer-term needs of pregnant and parenting youth and to prepare them to live independently. MGH grantees are required to teach young people parenting skills as well as topics including child development, family budgeting, health and nutrition, and other skills to promote their long-term economic independence and ensure the well-being of their children.

Services Provided

MGH grantees are required to offer the following services, either directly or by referral:

  • Safe, stable living accommodations
  • Basic life-skill building, including consumer education and instruction in budgeting, using credit, housekeeping, menu planning, food preparation, and parenting skills
  • Interpersonal skill building, including enhancing young people’s abilities to establish positive relationships with peers and adults, make decisions, and manage stress
  • Educational opportunities, such as GED preparation, postsecondary training, and vocational education
  • Assistance in job preparation and attainment, such as career counseling and job placement
  • Education, information, and counseling to prevent, treat, and reduce substance abuse
  • Physical health care, including routine physicals, health assessments, and emergency treatment
  • Child-safe transitional and independent living accommodations
  • Education in parenting, child discipline, and safety as well as direct supervision of parenting and related domestic skills
  • Mental, physical, and reproductive health care, including individual and family counseling of parent and child
  • Resources to help youth identify reliable and affordable child care
  • Lessons in money management and use of credit
  • Facilitation of parent involvement in local schools and other child education programs

FYSB's Grant Award Process

FYSB solicits applications for the MGH Program through funding announcements on the Web site at Applications are competitively reviewed by peer panels, and successful applicants receive 5-year grants.

For More Information

For further information about FYSB’s MGH Program, contact the National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth, P.O. Box 13505, Silver Spring, MD 20911-3505; (301) 608-8098; fax: (301) 608-8721; e-mail:; Web site: