• December 2016
  • Vol. 17, No. 9

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Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Care

Noting that teens in foster care face pregnancy rates twice as high as their peers, a new guide developed by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy presents 10 ways that youth-serving professionals can address this challenge for youth in care. The authors gathered input from more than 100 people, including child welfare workers, youth formerly in foster care, researchers, and others dedicated to improving the well-being of children and youth involved with child welfare.

Among the 10 strategies for preventing teen pregnancy, the guide points to the reasonable and prudent parent standard within the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014. This provision aims to support normalcy for children in foster care and allows foster parents and caregivers to make decisions in support of the well-being of children and youth in their care. The authors suggest that adding content to existing training for foster parents that is specific to talking with teens about reproductive and sexual health, contraception, healthy relationships, and other topics could help support normalcy for youth, while also helping pregnancy prevention efforts.

The following are the 10 strategies outlined in the brief:

  1. Authentically engage youth in solutions
  2. Integrate teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention into existing child welfare programs for youth and adults
  3. Integrate data collection and analysis on pregnant and parenting youth in care into current child welfare case management systems
  4. Use data to inform local and State policy and practice and build a case for supporting pregnancy prevention services
  5. Convene local and State experts on how best to put unplanned pregnancy prevention policies into practice
  6. Develop new evidence-based programs focused on youth in foster care that are trauma-informed, incorporate therapeutic models like motivational interviewing, and help youth explore healthy relationships
  7. Ensure that each youth in foster care has a trusted adult in their life who is able to talk to them about reproductive and sexual health
  8. Work across systems to integrate and provide teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention services
  9. Address policy gaps at the Federal, State, and local levels
  10. Create new programs and services for young adults and parenting youth in foster care that focus on reproductive health—especially in those States that extend foster care to age 21

Call to Action: 10 Ways to Address Teen Pregnancy Prevention Among Youth in Foster Care is available on the website for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy at https://thenationalcampaign.org/sites/default/files/resource-primary-download/call_to_action_0.pdf (213 KB).

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