Since 1992, Lebanon County’s teen pregnancy rate has declined significantly. While this is a reason to celebrate, it is a reminder to maintain a steadfast effort to continue research-driven initiatives that have led to this public health success story. We still have work ahead of us. Lebanon County leads the state in pregnant teens. There are many reasons why we should care about the issue of teen pregnancy:
Child Well Being:
Because teen moms are less likely than their older counterparts to utilize prenatal care, their babies are more likely to be born premature or low birth weight.
Babies born to teen moms are more likely to suffer from abuse and neglect than babies born to mothers that delayed childbearing.
Young teens (under age 17) are 2.2 times more likely to have a child placed in foster care than mothers who delay childbearing until age 20 or 21.
Teen pregnancy is the leading cause of school drop out for girls. Only 40% finish high school and less than 2% finish college by age 30.
Lack of education means a workforce that is ill prepared to meet the demands of the modern economy.
2/3 of families that are poor were begun by a teen mother.
Criminal Justice System:
Children born to teen moms are more likely to be incarcerated.
Teen pregnancy in Pennsylvania between 1991 and 2010 cost the taxpayers $10.9 billion. (However, it would have been $406 million more if research-driven efforts were not implemented.)
*source: The National Campaign for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy