May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and a time to reflect on the impact this program is having on our nation’s teen pregnancy rate. With each passing year, teen pregnancy rates continue to decline. However, the program’s mission remains relevant. While there is an overall decrease, the data highlights the disparities in teen pregnancy rates among vulnerable population groups, particularly homeless youth, youth in foster care, and youth involved in the juvenile justice system.1
Hoyleton is on the frontline in providing an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention curriculum for our youth in care and youth facilities within the southern Illinois region. The Making Proud Choices—Youth in Care curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of at-risk youth. Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Specialist, Amber Davis, meets with youth for one-hour sessions, over eight weeks, to discuss a range of topics from creating healthy relationships to understanding risky behavior and consequences. The curriculum engages youth in a way that accommodates different adolescent learning styles. Every week, the sessions concentrate on a new topic with an accompanying video. Youth are encouraged to participate in interactive activities to engage with the material and each other. Often, youth in care do not have an opportunity to discuss intimate, personal topics with family members and are looking for a trusted adult to help them navigate adolescence and adulthood. TPP Specialist Davis noted, “The youth are open to having honest discussions on pregnancy prevention. Our youth have questions, and they want answers. Often, they are willing to lead the discussion. The youth are engaged and getting what they need out of the program.”
Hoyleton’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention program is available as a community resource and offers an array of publications to help parents, caregivers, and community leaders initiate a conversation about healthy relationships and sexual health. As TPP Specialist Davis clarified, “Having a conversation about sexual health does not give youth the green light to have sex. Talking about sex is the most preventative thing a parent/caregiver can do. This is a chance to openly discuss your values, which will mean so much to your child.” For more information regarding teen pregnancy prevention or access to sexual health resources, call the Hoyleton Prevention Department at 618.688.4739.
Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs. About Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/grant-programs/teen-pregnancy-prevention-program-tpp/about/index.html