Preventing teen pregnancy is a top priority of the B’more for Healthy Babies Initiative (BHB). Though it has decreased since 2000, the teen birth rate in Baltimore City remains extremely high. In 2010, the City’s teen birth rate was 53.3 births per 1000 women ages 15-19 compared to the national rate of 34.3. While the birth rate among certain racial and ethnic groups have also decreased significantly, dramatic disparities between groups continue to persist: 25.9 among Whites, 55.4 among African Americans, and 79.6 among Hispanics (2012 data).
Teen pregnancy is associated with serious social problems including poverty (especially child poverty), child abuse and neglect, father-absence, low birth weight, school dropout, and unemployment. Nationally, only 38% of teens who become pregnant before turning 18 will graduate from high school, and pregnant teens are twice as likely to skip prenatal care in the first trimester. In 2010 taxpayers spent $9.4 billion on publicly financed medical care for women who experienced an unintended pregnancy. Most of the costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers, including increased costs for health care, foster care, incarceration, and lost tax revenue. (Data accessed from the nationalcampaign.org, June 2014).
BHB’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative has the goal of reducing teen births by 20% by 2015. The initiative is implementing a multi-pronged approach: 1) increasing access to evidence-based, sexual health education and information; 2) improving access to youth-friendly quality services for teens, especially in the delivery of long-acting reversible contraceptives and 3) creating greater demand for these services through an ongoing youth-led campaign, Know What U Want: U Choose.
This toolkit is part of TPPI’s initiative to provide helpful information, tools and materials that enable healthcare practitioners to provide quality family planning counseling and services to teens.