Pennsylvania Department of Health

Published 2019

Support. Empower. Learn. Parenting Health Initiative

Young father with his child
"After help with my resume and getting some motivation from SELPHI, I was able to get a job with Career Link and start training for a [Fortune] 500 company career with YEAR UP. Oftentimes I get fear and anxiety thinking I won’t be able to do it with my daughter, but between the incentives and a consistent reminder that anything worth having takes patience, I push through every day."
- SELPHI program participant

Program Description

The Support. Empower. Learn. Parenting Health Initiative (SELPHI) offers case management, resource navigation, and parenting support groups to expectant and parenting youth. By using a client-centered approach and building a sustainable network of resources for youth, SELPHI aims to improve the health and educational, social, and economic outcomes that impact the well-being of young parents and their families.

  • Population: Expectant and parenting teens and young adults (ages 16-29) and their families
  • Locations: Philadelphia, PA
  • Partners: YouthBuild Philadelphia, Valley Youth House, Turning Points for Children, and Community College of Philadelphia


  1. Connect participants to resources, including health care, education, employment, and parenting supports.
  2. Use digital communication to increase participants’ access to case management services.
  3. Create a sustainable network of services to support expectant and parenting youth.
  4. Improve participants’ health and their educational and economic outcomes.


Client-centered case management

SELPHI’s case navigators meet with expectant and parenting youth to assess their families’ needs and develop Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART) goals. Based on the needs assessment and client-driven goal setting, navigators link participants to resources, including health care, housing, job training, parenting education, and other services. Navigators coach and monitor participants and provide them with transportation assistance and financial incentives to help them follow through with referrals and make progress towards their goals.

By meeting participants at familiar locations, such as high schools and community service centers, navigators ensure that case management services are accessible to youth. In addition to in-person meetings, navigators use digital communication—including phone calls, texting, social media, and video chat—to answer questions, provide support, and help participants stay on top of appointments.

Parenting support group

The Sharing Help on Parenting (SHOP) group meets monthly and brings expectant and parenting youth together to learn new skills, share their experiences, and support one another. SHOP group meetings include workshops on topics such as reproductive health, finances, and healthy relationships. The group also hosts events—such as “Get Ready for Theater,” which included a puppet show and reading time—that provide young families with educational games and opportunities to relax together. SELPHI provides participants with child care during SHOP group meetings to make them more accessible.

Community advisory group

SELPHI hosts a Community Advisory Group made up of organizational partners that meets quarterly to receive program updates, discuss challenges and successes, and brainstorm ways to improve SELPHI’s model, approach, messaging, and direction. Partners also share information about their programs and discuss ways to fill gaps in services to create a sustainable network of resources for expectant and parenting youth.

Stats at a Glance

  • 107 participants served in 2018
  • 100% of case navigators surveyed agreed that they saw increased motivation in participants over the course of their time in SELPHI (2018)
  • 100% of SHOP group members who have attended at least two meetings reported that their parenting knowledge has increased since they started attending the SHOP group (2018)
  • 95% of participants surveyed agreed that they would be able to use what they learned through SELPHI to improve their parenting (2018)

Contact Information

Naomi Zeiset
Public Health Program Manager
(717) 772-2762

Print the full success story here.

About the PAF Program

The Office of Adolescent Health Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) Program provides funding to states and tribal entities to improve the health, educational, social, and economic outcomes of expectant and parenting teens, women, fathers, and their families.