Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Supporting Teen Parents IS Preventing Teenage Pregnancy

I have been trying to write an article about the importance of the work which seeks to prevent teenage pregnancy also including support for pregnant and parenting teens. Without supporting us now society is failing two generations at once and continuing to make the statistics that we and our families face "true."

My latest on RH Reality Check seeks to further expand on this.

Mainstream teenage pregnancy prevention frameworks are one-sided and ineffective in preventing unintended pregnancies. While the rate of teenage pregnancies in the United States is currently at one of the lowest points in the last three decades, it is still one of the highest among industrialized nations, and the rate of unintended pregnancies among young adults between the ages of 20 and 25 is growing. With the majority of funds to prevent teenage pregnancy being spent on programs that use a scare tactic and or hard-lined approach, it’s time to consider what investing in the present and future of pregnant and parenting teens might do to disrupt the cycle of poverty and ensure stronger families.

While large organizations and local governments believe that preventing teenage pregnancy is achievable through expensive public service campaigns like New York City’s controversial $400,000 public service campaign, which do not lend themselves to quantifiable data regarding their success, these groups are failing to realize that supporting teenage parents and their families would go a long way in preventing teenage pregnancy now and in the future—such as by helping them to stay in school and complete their education, as well as access to safe, quality, and affordable day care services, health services, housing, career readiness services, and more.

One of the most commonly correlated statements about teenage pregnancy is that it leads to poverty. Although this statement has been disproven—it is poverty that is more likely to lead to teenage pregnancy—efforts that use outdated prevention frameworks and messaging prevail, often with the added impact of shaming young mothers. The reality is that poverty leads to poverty and focusing on systems of support that unshackle people from an impoverished destiny will have a major impact regardless of how young they have children.

Read the rest here.

Is support also prevention?

Let me know what you think below or on Twitter.

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