Teen Pregnancy Among Foster Care Youth in Travis County Still A Growing Problem
Oct 26 2017
(Austin, TX)—In the U.S., there are more than 428,000 children in the foster care system on any given day, and more than 30,000 of those children live in Texas. Many youth in the foster care system experience feelings of neglect, abandonment, physical and/or mental illness, as well as addiction, which tremendously affects their physical and emotional wellbeing. Compounding these complex challenges is the high risk of teen pregnancy faced by foster care youth.
As part of its efforts to address both teen and unplanned pregnancy, the Travis County Model Court for Children and Families today hosted with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (The National Campaign), “Travis County Cares: Addressing Teen Pregnancy Among Foster Youth” summit. The summit, held at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, addressed sexual and reproductive health, pregnancy prevention resources and services available for foster youth, and solutions to prevent and address the many issues associated with pregnancy among youth in the foster care system.
“Even though teen pregnancy rates have decreased significantly over the past two decades, the U.S. still has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the industrialized world,” said Gillian Sealy, Chief Program Officer, The National Campaign. “Progress, like these dramatically reduced rates, doesn’t mean victory, and we still have much work to be done, including providing youth in foster care access to information about contraception.”
Attending the summit were state and community leaders as well as the Hon. Darlene Byrne, Presiding Judge of the 126th Civil District Court; Tammi Fleming, Ph.D., CHES, Senior Associate, The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Kristen Plastino, MD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Rachel Howell and Angela Luck, Copia Consulting LLC, who all spoke at today’s panel.
Youth in foster care face more challenging circumstances and experience less positive outcomes with respect to risk for early pregnancy than other youth. Teen girls in foster care are 2.5 times more likely than teens not in the system to become pregnant. Helping foster youth avoid early pregnancy and parenthood can improve their likelihood for successful transition from the foster care system, educational attainment, and acquiring stable employment.
Today’s summit is part of a series of programs that The National Campaign will host across the nation to raise awareness and address the issue of teen pregnancy among foster youth.
About The National Campaign: The National Campaign is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families by preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy. Please visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org to find out more.
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