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Miller et al. find benefits of Medicaid for pregnant mothers in 1980s carry over two generations

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Mon, Jan 22, 2018, noon: Narayan Sastry

Mother with children and parents

Children of teen mothers benefit from grandparents' education

8/12/2015 feature story

Paula Fomby and colleagues find that children born to teen mothers are less prepared for kindergarten than are children born to older parents. But among this group, children whose maternal grandparents completed high school have better school readiness than those whose grandparents did not.

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Paula Fomby

Publication Information:

Fomby, Paula, Laurie James-Hawkins, and Stefanie Mollborn. 2015. "Family Resources in Two Generations and School Readiness Among Children of Teen Parents." Population Research and Policy Review, 34(5): 733-759. PMCID: PMC4717487.

Overall, children born to teen parents experience disadvantaged cognitive achievement at school entry compared with children born to older parents. However, within this population, there is variation, with a significant fraction of teen parents' children acquiring adequate preparation for school entry during early childhood. We ask whether the family background of teen parents explains this variation. We use data on children born to teen mothers from three waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (N ~ 700) to study the association of family background with children's standardized reading and mathematics achievement scores at kindergarten entry. When neither maternal grandparent has completed high school, children's scores on standardized assessments of math and reading achievement are one-quarter to one-third of a standard deviation lower compared with families where at least one grandparent finished high school. This association is net of teen mothers' own socioeconomic status in the year prior to children's school entry.

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