Teenage Parenting | Frequently Asked Questions

Helping Teenagers with Parenting

Teenage Parenting | Frequently Asked Questions

You might think being a teenage parent is something new. However, teenagers have been having children ever since the beginning of time.

In today’s society, there are different standards of living and necessities to consider when having a baby as a teen. You can calculate the cost of having a Baby using our online calculator.

If you’re thinking of becoming a parent or find yourself having a child as a teenager, there are tons of programs that offer assistance for all situations.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers below.

I’m pregnant and I can’t afford to go to the doctor. What do I do?

Contact your local Health Department to find out what services are available in your area. There are a lot of programs available to help you receive prenatal care.

It is important to take care of yourself and the baby growing inside you. An online resource is the Idaho Division of Medicaid.

I am being sexually and/or physically abused. What should I do?

Talk to a trusted adult immediately! Your parents, your school nurse, counselor, or your minister are all good places to start. If you don’t know who to trust, call Child Protection any time 24 hours a day.

My girlfriend is pregnant, and we can’t afford to have a baby. What do we do?

Well, you probably should have thought of that before now! Now you are in a fix, what do you do? The first step is to talk with each other and your parents and determine your options.

If you need to talk to someone, you can call the Idaho Care Line at 1-800-926-2588 or check out our online resources.

What if Mom and Dad kick me out?

A pregnant teen cannot live on their own and receive cash assistance unless there are special circumstances that have been documented that prevent you from living at home.

If you don’t live with your parents, you will have to live with an adult guardian to qualify for cash assistance.

Your parents will have to pay child support for you and your child if you don’t live with them. Contact the Idaho CareLine at 1-800-926-2588 if you need help.

How can they prove I’m the dad?

A simple paternity test is done by comparing your DNA with the baby’s DNA. It’s quick and painless. A swab, much like a Q-Tip swab, is brushed on the inside of your mouth for cell samples to compare to the baby’s.

What if I don’t tell them who the dad is?

You have to cooperate with the Department of Health and Welfare to establish paternity. Besides, it is in your and your baby’s best interests to establish paternity.

Paternity means fatherhood. Establishing paternity simply means creating a legal bond between a father and his child. If you choose not to identify the father, you could be ineligible to receive any benefits.

What if I don’t know where the dad is?

If you don’t know where the dad is, you can contact the Department of Health and Welfare for help in finding him.

You can call the Child Support Services at 1-800-356-9868 or contact your local Health & Welfare Department for assistance.

What do I do if the dad won’t help?

It is the dad’s responsibility as well as yours to support children you bring into the world. If you need assistance in getting a child support order, contact your local Health & Welfare office, or call the toll free number at 1-800-356-9868.

What if I don’t know who the dad is?

Before you can receive cash assistance from the State, you must make every effort to identify who the father might be. You will need to identify all possible fathers to help determine the father of your child.

What do I do if my boyfriend is beating me up?

You need to get help! Talk with your parents, teacher or counselor. It is important that you try and get yourself away from abusive relationships before it is too late. You also can call the Idaho CareLine at 1-800-926-2588 or your local Child Protection Agency.

Child Support

My boyfriend doesn’t have a job. Will he have to quit school to pay child support?

NO! It is important for everyone to complete their education. He can get a part-time job or his parents can assist in helping with child support so he can finish school.

He will have to pay $50 per month when he turns 16-years-old. Once he turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first, he will be responsible for paying a higher amount of child support.

How much child support am I entitled to?

That depends on a lot of things. First, paternity needs to be established, and you can begin that process by getting a child support order through the court.

The amount of child support you receive is based on Idaho Supreme Court guidelines, which considers the income of both parents. If you need help in establishing child support, you can contact Child Support Services at 1-800-356-9868 or your local Health & Welfare Office.

How much child support do I have to pay?

When determining the amount of child support you have to pay, the courts examine both parents income before establishing child support orders.

If you are under 18, the courts will examine not only your income, but also may include your parents’ income.

Do I have to pay if I’m under 18?

It is understood that you cannot work a full-time job and concentrate on classes, but you do need to help support your child. You, and perhaps your parents, may be required to pay a smaller amount of child support until you graduate from school and can help more. Currently, non-custodial parents aged 16-18 pay $50 per month.

What happens if I don’t pay child support?

Failure to pay child support can cause you to be in contempt of court and have your:

  • Driver’s license suspended
  • Hunting and fishing license suspended
  • Possibly go to jail
  • Prevent you from getting credit

What happens if I’m in jail? Will I still have to pay Child Support?

You have to pay while you are in jail, if you have any income. You still are responsible for your child and support. Your child support will accrue and when you get out, it will be a condition of your parole or probation and you will need to have a plan as to how you will pay the retroactive support payments. CSS does not pursue juveniles for the purpose of jail.

What happens when I get a paternity notice?

You must respond within 10 days or you will be the father by default. If you have any doubts that you are the father, it is important that you get a paternity test to determine if you are or not.

I am the non-custodial parent, and the custodial parent will not let me see my child. What should I do?

Visitation issues need to be addressed by the parents through their local district court. The state’s Child Support Services does provide paternity establishment and child support and medical orders. However, the agency does not have the authority to address visitation issues. That is left up to the courts.

I want to get custody of my child. What should I do?

Custody issues need to be addressed by the parents through their local district court. The state’s Child Support Services does help provide paternity establishment, child support and medical orders. However, the agency does not have the authority to address custody issues. That is left up to the courts.

Cash Assistance

How long can I get cash assistance?

A person can receive cash assistance for only 24 months in a lifetime. The monthly maximum you can receive is currently about $300.

What do I have to do to get cash assistance?

First, you need to determine if you qualify for assistance. Contact your local Health & Welfare Office to set up an appointment to determine eligibility.

You will need to develop a plan (Personal Responsibility Contract) that outlines your responsibilities for completing school, seeking training, or gaining employment. Welfare is now called Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho (TAFI). It is designed to help you be self-reliant and self-supporting and has a lifetime limit of 24 months assistance.

What is a Personal Responsibility Contract?

A Personal Responsibility Contract is an agreement between you and the Department of Health & Welfare to help support you and your family’s move to self-reliance and employment.

A self-reliance specialist will help you determine your goals in obtaining employment or training to help you become employable. The contract outlines how the Department will help you obtain your goals and what resources will be available to you.

If I have another baby, can I get more money?

You might be able to get more child support from the father, but you will not receive additional cash assistance from the State. The monthly maximum is about $300, no matter how many kids you have.

How do I stay in school after the baby is born?

The State of Idaho places high value on teens completing their high school education. If you have child care, you can continue attending classes with your class, or in some districts there are alternative schools to help you complete your high school education.

Another alternative is to take classes to take your GED. The GED classes are available in many locations. Another option available is preparing for the GED through your TV. Idaho Public Television offers GED classes to help you complete your education.

How do I afford child care if I am going to school?

The Idaho’s Child Care Program helps pay for child care if you meet income eligibility requirements and are working or in school. You can download the application online or contact your local Health & Welfare Office for more information.

Who is going to watch the baby so I can go to school/work, and how am I going to be able to afford it? Your local Community Action Agency can assist you in locating child care, and the Idaho Child Care Program can assist in paying for child care when parents are working, looking for work, or in training (school). To see if you are eligible, contact your regional Health & Welfare Office, or call Idaho CareLine at 1-800-926-2588.

What happens if I move to another state?

You will no longer be eligible to receive cash assistance from Idaho, and most states count the number of months you have received assistance towards their limitation on receiving services.

My baby needs health insurance what do I do? The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is available to provide health insurance for the uninsured. CHIP provides insurance to working and non-working families.

It allows you to get the health insurance coverage your children need and deserve. CHIP uses your family’s income before taxes to determine if your child qualifies for CHIP. You can even download the application online. Another great source of help and advice is your local Community Action Agency.