Title: How Can We Lower Adolescent Pregnancies
Category: Child Care
This January, 100 delegates met in Baton Rouge for a weekend coalition to discuss ways of lowering adolescent pregnancies. They shared a concern for the dismal teen pregnancy statistics in Louisiana. Every day 42 adolescents in Louisiana become pregnant. Thirty-five become mothers, 18 are treated for sexually transmitted diseases and 4 contract HIV. These and many other statistics were enough concern for these 100 delegates to work hard in building a consensus policy statement of ways to combat the problem. The highlights of their policy statement include:
1. Visibility of the problem. To better publicize the incidence of adolescent pregnancy and the cost to all of us in the state. Along this line they recommend publicizing Teen Pregnancy Prevention Awareness Week in October every year and emphasizing prevention as smart medicine.
2. Health and family life education. They would like to mandate comprehensive health and family life education for grades K-12 and involve committees throughout the community in the curriculum and presentation.
3. To better use committees in the state who's interests criss-cross on this problem and to work together more effectively.
4. To provide adolescent health services such as school based nurses or health clinics at each school with counseling centers in each community for adolescents.
5. To focus better on community based organizations which serve the full needs of adolescents and try to get all the community organizations with this common goal to work together more effectively. Also to emphasize rewards for positive adolescent behavior such as scholarships, summer jobs, incentives for good grades, good conduct grades, etc. A church in Baton Rouge does this presently and has been very successful.
6. To make our media more accountable on sexuality issues and to work in our communities for better prevention through wise use of our media. We must get our media to help provide accurate and responsible information on sexuality issues instead of the "promiscuous sex without consequences" message which our children see throughout most of the media today.