Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taking on the challenge of teen pregnancy

Teen pregnancy does nothing good for teens, their children, and the community.

Take earnings, for example.   Teen parents earn less than their non-parenting peers.   Not suprising since teen parents are under-educated and under-employed compared to their peers without children.

Teen parents also typically use more public resources than they contribute to society via taxes.   A media release from At-large CM Michael Brown says:

Facts overwhelmingly show that the burden of such pregnancies fall on the taxpayer. Over 50% of the recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) started their families when they were teens. 76% of children placed in foster care were born to teen parents and sons of teen mothers are three times more likely to enter the criminal justice system. Frankly, teen pregnancy is a one way ticket to persistent poverty.

Older parents' children fare better over the time than do children of teen parents.   It is common for children of teens to have short- and long-term health problems.   Like their parents, children of teens struggle in school.

The bottom line is that teens and their children consume resources that could otherwise be used to strengthen communities or be directed to other priorities.   And teens set their children up for a life of struggles which are no fault of their own.

In the District of Columbia, there were 1,082 births in 2008 to teens between the ages of 15 and 19.   The ward breakdown is in the table titled "Number of births to teens aged 15 to 19, 2008."

Number of births to teens aged 15 to 19, 2008

Ward Number of births
1 124
2 38
3 6
4 141
5 172
6 78
7 215
8 306

On October 11 at Noon on the front steps of the John A. Wilson Building, Councilmember Michael A. Brown and colleagues will join with the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy at a press conference to highlight the continuing challenges the District of Columbia faces with teen pregnancy and its impact on the economic well being of our residents and the city at large.   CM Brown will discuss his commitment to encourage our teens to act responsibly, live healthy and make informed choices.

CM Michael Brown will acknowledge the decline in the teen pregnancy rate and recognize the multi-faceted approach to the problem taken by DC Campaign.