The subject of teenage births is not a new one in America. Prior to 1960 the rate of teenage births was double the amount it is today. Despite that fact “experts agree: when it comes to teenage births, the United States is backsliding.” According to the Nation Centre for Health Statistics between 1991 and 2005 teenage birth rate decline by 34%, but from 2005-2007 it crept up 5% (The Economist). Despite the national trends, from 1992-2007, Michigan has improved rates of teenage pregnancies, smoking among pregnant women, and six other indicators of maternal and infant health (Medical New Today). From 1996-2006 “Michigan has had a 44 percent decrease for 10-14 year olds and a 40 percent decrease for 15-17 year olds from”(“MDCH Awards”)..
The Michigan Department of Community Health, Adolescent and School Health Unit, have developed a pregnancy prevention program called Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI). TPPI’s goal is to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy in Michigan for youth ages 10-18. This program reaches statewide through community agencies that are funded to provide Michigan youth with: direct programming to promote personal respect and responsibility, builds skills for dealing with peer pressure and are age, gender and culturally relevant. The program achieve this by providing evidence-based interventions that deal with the sexual and non-sexual factors of delaying sex, as well as teaching about the importance of condom and other contraception use. The interventions must provide at least 14 hours of activities were participants can opening talk about all the factors of sex to learn to communicate, negotiate, refuse, decision-making, and resist peer/social pressures effectively. Parental education is also available through this program to help them acquire effective ways to communicate with their children about sexual heath and activity. (MDCH)
Other states like Texas leave their sexual education in public schools to emphasize abstinence and do not really have any other programs teach the youth about a sexual heath and activity. In Texas this approach is not working. “Texas as the third-highest rate of teenage births…Dallas has the highest report of repeat teenage births in the country, at 28%, according to a September report for Child Trends.” Lately, many states have abandoned the abstinence only education because its lack of improvement on decreasing teen births. (The Economist)
State funding make programs like this possible and Michigan continues to be ahead of the national curve. Michigan Representative Slavens has sponsored House Resolution No. 119 in response to teen pregnancies and birth rates. It is “a resolution to express the sense of this legislative body that the state of Michigan should intensify its efforts to reduce the high rates of teen pregnancies.” It recognizes 3 out of 10 teenagers it the United States become pregnant and the rates are rising. Teen pregnancy is related to critical social issues like poverty, education attainment, and involvement in criminal justice and child welfare systems. Through this resolution, the members of the House of Representatives believe that Michigan needs strengthen their efforts to decrease the high rates of teen pregnancies by increasing awareness about this issue, promoting parent-child communication, in investigate in programs that have been proven to reduce teen pregnancy.
On May 8th, 2009, the Michigan Department of Community Health was awarded over $1.4 million to four recipients who will be use this award to expand TPPI. The four recipients of this award are Baldwin Family Health Care, District Health Department #10, Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, and Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan. Each recipient will receive $50,000 by the end of the 2009 fiscal year, and will be given $100,000 each fiscal year until September 30th, 2012. With this award the recipients must “develop and/or maintain an advisory council, which is representative of the diversity of the community, implement programming that impacts the knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs proven to lower rates of teen pregnancy and provide a minimum of 14 hours of structured programming per youth”(“MDCH Awards”).
“MDCH Awards $1.4 million to Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programming for Michigan’s Youth” http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/TPPI_Press_Release_FY_2009_277880_7.pdf