Family Support Division (FSD) refers teen parents to the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program. A teen parent is an individual receiving Temporary Assistance (TA) who is under age 18 (including the month the individual turns 18) and is the custodial caretaker of a child. The month after they turn 18, they are no longer considered a teen parent. An individual over the age of 18 attending high school does not meet the teen parent definition but may continue to attend high school.
NOTE: There is no minimum age limit for teen parents.
NOTE: In Missouri, only TA recipients under age 18 are referred to as teen parents. However, activities that are available to teen parents are available to TA recipients under age 20.
All teen parents without a high school diploma or the equivalent are required to participate in education as their required work activity.
Where appropriate, enroll the teen parent recipient in a regular high school program. In cases where enrollment in a regular high school is not possible because of the participant’s age, inability to function effectively in a high school environment or other circumstance, enroll the participant in a high school equivalency or GED program. In extremely rare cases it may be more appropriate to enroll an individual in vocational education rather than high school or GED classes.
If it is determined that the teen parent is not willing or is unable to attend any educational activity, and is age 16 or over, place the teen parent in other activities, such as unsubsidized or subsidized employment. It is important that the teen parent work toward self-sufficiency, even if it is not in an educational activity. It remains the primary goal, however, to encourage the teen parent to complete high school or engage in other appropriate educational activities.
When the teen parent is enrolled in an educational activity, send the “Teen Parent in Educational Activity” alert to inform FSD the recipient is attending school. It is extremely important that this alert is sent immediately upon verification of the attendance at an educational activity. FSD changes the work requirement code in FAMIS and the teen’s months of receipt of Temporary Assistance do not count toward their forty-five (45) month lifetime limit while they are attending high school or another educational activity. See the MWA System User Guide for further information regarding the teen parent alert.
Consider attendance at high school as meeting the teen parent’s hourly participation rate, even if the actual attendance hours do not equal the required hours. If the teen is enrolled in GED classes or other educational activities, the actual hours of attendance must equal the required participation hours. If the teen parent is unable to meet the required hours attending GED classes or other education activities, enroll the teen in additional activities to meet the hourly rate.
Allowable educational activities include:
- High School
- GED classes
- Job Corps
- Home schooling from an accredited home school program
NOTE: This applies only when the teen parent is the student, not the teacher.
- Alternative secondary schools.
Planning to return to school in the fall does not meet the work requirement during the summer months. If not enrolled in summer school, teen parents need to participate in another activity. MWA case managers need to assist teen parents in finding a countable work activity during the summer months for those teen parents not enrolled in summer school.
If a suitable work activity cannot be found, the contractor should make thorough notes in the MWA system regarding the attempt to engage the teen parent during the summer and that the teen parent will not be referred for sanction.