Policy Advocacy

TEEN FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE


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The TFI uses legislative and media advocacy to improve educational and economic outcomes for low-income adolescent fathers. There are more than 20,000 teen fathers in NYC, the majority of whom will never continue beyond high school and face bleak employment and earning prospects. As young fathers they too often fall beneath the radar of media and policymakers, missing out on critical educational, economic and parenting supports that could strengthen them as parents and improve the economic standing of their children.

Our work in this area has included the following:

• A Policy Brief Series highlighting the challenges faced by teen fathers in Family Court;
• A Know Your Rights Video Series produced by young fathers to teach their peers about their paternity and child support rights.

EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE WITHIN GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS


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We work to increase access to education for teens that come in contact with the city’s foster care, welfare, and homeless systems. Homeless teens, teen parents, and teens in the city’s poorest communities face systemic barriers to high quality secondary education and college. This is largely the result of flawed policies and overly complex practices of the city’s many government agencies impacting education. The result is that the teens most in need of educational supports are the least likely to receive them. Our work in this area has led to:

• The publication of a policy report, Missed Opportunity, highlighting teens’ problems accessing education in the city’s welfare agency;
• The development and wide distribution of a website and poster/ bookmark to help teens understand and navigate the high school enrollment process; and
• The passage of three new local laws, each of which expands access to educational and economic opportunities for young people in the city’s welfare system.