The promotion of marriage has become a major focus in the debate over reauthorization of the welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Many of policy proposals being discussed could have the effect--intended or unintended--of encouraging teens to marry. Should teenage girls who become pregnant be encouraged to marry? What might the effects be on a young woman, on her child, or on the child's father? What do we know about how teen marriage patterns vary with age, race, and other factors? Some may assume that any teen mother with a baby would be better off married. There is good reason to believe, however, that marriage of a very young mother may merely replace one public concern, "premature parenting," with another: "premature marriage."
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Is Teen Marriage a Solution?