Urban Adolescent Mothers Exposed to Community, Family, and Partner Violence: Prevalence, Outcomes, and Welfare Policy Implications


Michigan State University, School of Social Work, 254 Baker Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824. E-mail: kenne258@msu.edu


The federal welfare reforms of 1996 mandated that all minor adolescent mothers receiving cash assistance must attend school and live at home to receive their cash grant. Though this law has been in place for over 8 years, little research has been done that explores the barriers facing adolescent mothers who try to attend school and live at home. Anecdotal and qualitative evidence from welfare reform evaluation studies suggests that violence may be just such a barrier. This article reviews the recent empirical literature on urban adolescent mothers' exposure to multiple forms of violence. The author delineates and critiques the existing research on the prevalence of and outcomes linked with exposure to community violence, witnessed parental violence, physical abuse within the family, and partner violence among this population. The article concludes with recommendations for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers in light of the reviewed findings.