Parental, Community, and School Support of Teen Pregnancies
Teen pregnancy is one of those topics that can be extremely controversial. For a long time, there was no support for teens who became pregnant. Often, there was a stigma that came with pregnancy. The mother was “easy” came from a poor area and had welfare dependency (Insert citation). As time went on support came in different ways. Some came in the way of preventive methods. Teaching what sex is and the consequences can be was one way. Another was teaching abstinence, which basically means having no sex and instead waiting for marriage; This has proven to be the least useful. While another method involved giving out birth control options. With the combination of knowledge and objects to avoid pregnancies teen pregnancy was starting to slow. While, most of these methods helped teens avoid teen pregnancy, they did not fully give resources to the entire issue. Teens who were already pregnant would find some information from classes on sex and knowledge on how to avoid sex in the future but this information would not prove to be their first priority. Perhaps they would not be able to stay in school long enough to learn this information. Many teen parents, especially teen mothers, would drop out of school soon after giving birth since their priorities have changed. The focus when it came to teen pregnancy was on prevention and not teens who were already pregnant. The teens who were already pregnant now had to take on education, leaning to be a parent, childcare, their health and their child’s health, and employment. With so much on their plate and no support in teen pregnancy programs many only had the option to drop out. This could turn into a vicious cycle of little education and teen pregnancy.
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The trends of the United States rate of teen birth has lowered significantly over the last few years (Martin et al. 2015). The low which is a record is 24.2 births per 1,000 females who are 15-19 years of age (CDC,2015). This decrease in teen pregnancy is extremely beneficial. Teens can further their education and gradate. With less teens getting pregnant this could change their entire life.
One may ask if teen pregnancy is at an all-time low then why would programs made to help already pregnant teens need a focus? While there has been a great decrease in births there is still a lot to be done in certain areas. There are great differences between birth rates when it comes to race and ethnicity. The rates of birth for African Americans and for Hispanic people is almost double of Caucasian people (CDC, 2015). Teen parents are more likely to be from a low-income background and experience multiple births (CDC ,2015). Due to this they are likely to have more struggles then they would at this age (CDC, 2015).
For some teen moms they lack basic and complex resources and rights. Simple resources like, housing, food, and healthcare. Then they also lack complex resources such as, child care, being able to attend school, and graduating school (Hoffman and Maynard 2008). By not having these resources available this leads teen moms not being able to get education and as a direct result becoming employed is made harder (Hoffman and Maynard 2008). Due to teen pregnancy and the need for someone to parent the children this has led to the major cause for females to drop out of school (Freudenberg and Ruglis 2007). For all females that drop out of school 30-40% are due to teen pregnancy (Freudenberg and Ruglis 2007). A small percentage of teen moms will get their high school diplomas by the age of 22 (Perper et al. 2010).
Programs that focus on the teen parents once the child has been born has greatly increased the graduation rates of the students who would either wise have no other choice, but to drop out. There are not too many high schools that implement these programs, Northwestern High School in Prince George County, has a 95% graduation rate from their program dealing with teen pregnancy (Wiggins, 2013). While another program had 70% graduate their program (Crean, Hightower, & Allan, 2001). These numbers are the way they are partially due to day care services at the high school itself (Crean, Hightower, & Allan, 2001). This makes it possible for students to attend high school while also having a safe and nurturing place for their children.
These programs do not just focus on the academic achievements of the teen parents, but also increasing parental skill/knowledge and the children’s wellbeing. The programs require teen parents to take parenting classes (Clewell, Brooks-Gunn, & Benasich, 1989). While the parents are at school or in parenting classes their youngsters get to learn and development with other students in a daycare (Clewell, Brooks-Gunn, & Benasich, 1989). This greatly improves the little one’s abilities and socializing skills (Fernandez, 2013). Some programs offer healthcare for the mother and child (Fernandez, 2013). These children are born regardless of the prevention programs and without these post pregnancy programs would not have the life they do. They may even fall into the statistics like their parents before them did (Fernandez, 2013). Furthermore, during the summer these resources do not stop. Home visits occur to help the teen parents. The teen’s own parents are encouraged to help as well. In, fact the teens parents are just as involved as community members are. With these programs the concept of “It takes a whole village to raise one child comes to mind”.
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Looking at the teen pregnancy program from the high school Northwestern in George County Maryland Family-School Parenting techniques are evident. When it comes to Family-School Parenting post pregnancy programs fall under this perfectly. When looking at the pyramid the first place to look is the foundation this level the shared philosophy of providing resources for teen parents is the main goal (Lines Miller& Stanley, 2011). Everyone going into this process are under the same philosophy of continuing the teens education in not only education leading to graduation, but also how to be a parents amongst other things (Lines Miller& Stanley, 2011). The mortar that holds this pyramid together is that the overall success of the student acts as a motivational glue (Lines Miller& Stanley, 2011). The first part of the pyramid is tier one. In tier the main focus is providing information and resources to all students, teachers, and parents. In the post pregnancy program this would apply in school day care (Lines Miller& Stanley, 2011). All students, teachers, parent of students and outside people in the community can bring their children to the day care for low fees. The students must volunteer in the daycare. The next, is tier two. In this tier there is more of exclusivity. It applies to some and not all students, parents of students, and teachers. The teen parents mandatorily have to go to parenting classes (Lines Miller& Stanley, 2011). These classes are taught by the teachers and the student’s parents can be involved. The final tier is tier three (Lines Miller& Stanley, 2011). This tier is more focused on the individual (Lines Miller& Stanley, 2011). In this program during the summer teen parents can have individual home visits from people within the community to help with support. Health care can also be given out to individuals.
There are different degrees in which post pregnancy programs range. There are parts that are made for everyone, some that are made for most, and other aspects that depend on the individual. For example, for students to stay in school in school day care is useful to all. This is also useful for teachers and community members who can use the daycare for a lower fee. While on the other hand the parenting classes apply more specifically to the teen parents and their parents. Healthcare and home visits from the community can be looked at in individualized circumstances. Some teen parents may already have health care or function well with integrating their children and do not need home visits.
Overall, post pregnancy programs are very useful to many low income areas. While teen pregnancy numbers have fallen that does not mean it never happens. When looking at certain ethnic group’s teen pregnancy can be higher. Giving teen parents and their parents resources and opportunities to connect to teachers and community is beneficial to not only the teen parent and their parents, but their children as well.
- Clewell, B. C., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Benasich, A. A. (1989). Evaluating child-related outcomes of teenage parenting programs. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 38(2), 201–209. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.2307/583676
- Crean, H. F., Hightower, A. D., & Allan, M. J. (2001). School-based child care for children of teen parents: Evaluation of an urban program designed to keep young mothers in school. Evaluation and Program Planning, 24(3), 267–275. https://doi-org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.1016/S0149-7189(01)00018-0
- Head Start Program Services. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.adventisthealthcare.com/LC/programs/head-start/services
- Hoffman, Saul D. “Updated Estimates of the Consequences of Teen Childbearing for Mothers.” In Kids Having Kids: Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy, edited by S.D. Hoffman and R.A. Maynard. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press, 2008
- Fernandez, C. (2013). Effect of child care support on the academic achievement of teen mothers. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences. ProQuest Information & Learning. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.rowan.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2013-99211-049&site=ehost-live
- Freudenberg, N., and J. Ruglis. “Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue.” Preventing Chronic Disease, vol. 4, no. 4, 2007. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct/07_0063.htm. Accessed July 15, 2016.
- Lines, C., Miller, G. B., & Stanley, A. A. (2011). The power of family-school partnering (Fsp): a practical guide for school mental health professionals and educators. New York: Brunner-Routledge.
- Martin, J.A., B.E. Hamilton, and M.J.K. Osterman. “Births in the United States, 2014.” NCHS data brief, no 216. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2015.
- Maynard, R.A., and S.D. Hoffman. Kids Having Kids: Economics Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press, 2008.
- Northwestern High School History. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www1.pgcps.org/Northwestern/Northwestern-High-School-History/
- Perper, K., K. Peterson, and J. Manlove. “Diploma Attainment Among Teen Mothers.” Washington, DC: Child Trends, 2010. Available at https://www.childtrends.org/wpcontent/uploads/2010/01/child_trends-2010_01_22_FS_diplomaattainment.pdf. Accessed December 15, 2016.
- Wiggins, O. (2013, January 10). High schools offer day-care services for teen parents to prevent dropouts. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/high-schools-offer-day-care-services-for-teen-parents-to-prevent-dropouts/2013/01/10/091d28de-408b-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html?utm_term=.e35a06467bc8
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