- February 2006
- Vol. 7, No. 1
Preventing Foster Teen Pregnancies
Youth in foster care are at greater risk of teen pregnancy than other teens. A new report delves into teens' views on sex, pregnancy, and decision-making to explore why this group remains at higher risk. The report, Fostering Hope: Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Foster Care, is the result of focus group discussions among youth in foster care and foster parents.
Thirty-seven focus groups were conducted with 121 youth in foster care, including some who were pregnant and parenting, and 31 foster parents from the Chicago area. A number of themes emerged from the discussions that highlighted the unique circumstances of youth in foster care, as well as their many similarities with other youth.
Primary themes included:
- Some important relationships are lacking for foster youth.
- Foster youth see many benefits to having a baby.
- There is a lot of pressure among foster youth to have sex.
- While foster youth have access to information about sex and pregnancy, this information is often too little and too late.
- Access to contraception does not mean that teens will use it.
- While foster youth think about long-term goals, many act on present impulses.
- There is a lack of trust between the sexes.
While many of these themes reflect the experience of most American teenagers, they are intensified for youth in foster care. Discussion of these themes is enhanced by quotations from the focus group participants about their own experiences. Based on discussion of the themes, implications and recommendations regarding pregnancy prevention efforts are offered.
Fostering Hope was written by L. T. Love, J. McIntosh, M. Rosst, and K. Tertzakian as a joint project of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Uhlich Children's Advantage Network.