NYDIC Archive

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    Policy Briefs/Position Statements      

Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

NCY POSITION
The National Collaboration for Youth believes that:

Youth development programs that teach children life skills and social values and connect them more meaningfully to their communities, tend to result in a greater awareness of life options and a lesser likelihood of high risk behavior in all areas including early initiation of sexual intercourse. Participation in comprehensive sexuality education programs can help delay the onset of sexual activity and encourage the avoidance of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases for both males and females. Pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers should be encouraged to seek regular medical and nutritional care, to continue in school or to seek vocational training, and to enroll in parenting courses. Prospective fathers and teen fathers should assume financial responsibilities. Pregnancy prevention programs should be based on positive youth development principles and thus should: build children's self-reliance, self-confidence and awareness of life options; facilitate parent-child, teacher-child, mentor-child activities and communication; promote peer education and leadership in schools and in the community; increase competencies in decision-making, negotiation, assertiveness, and refusal and resistance skills. Fear-based approaches to adolescent pregnancy prevention are ineffective and harmful.

PUBLIC POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
The federal government should take the following actions related to adolescent pregnancy:

Provide leadership and incentives to campaigns attempting to reduce adolescent pregnancy through comprehensive approaches that are research-based. Expand funding for pregnancy prevention programs that provide medically accurate and realistic information about both abstinence and contraception. In light of concerns from the medical and public health communities regarding the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs, redirect the federal abstinence-only-until-marriage funding to more comprehensive research-based youth development approaches. Provide more evaluation dollars for current programs in an effort to determine what methods are most effective. Support and fund scientific research into adolescent sexual behavior. Provide leadership and incentives to programs attempting to reduce sexually transmitted infections through comprehensive interventions, including education, counseling, support services and treatment. Ensure access to affordable health care, including contraception, to all regardless of age. Recognize and support the role of schools in providing comprehensive health, nutrition, and sexuality education. Promote services that support positive social, economic, health and developmental outcomes for teen parents and their children. Support community efforts to increase and coordinate positive child/adolescent development programs. Support community programs that attempt to reach, and provide specialized services to, youth in high-risk situations or environments. Enact the Younger Americans Act to recognize and support the role of youth development programs as a promising approach to adolescent pregnancy prevention, and support further research on the efficacy of youth development approaches to adolescent pregnancy prevention.

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NYDIC was developed with support from DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Lilly Endowment Inc. through a partnership with the Indiana Youth Institute and other generous funding.

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