Teen pregnancy in Crow Wing County has dropped 46 percent from 1992, reported Cheryl Craig, the county teen pregnancy prevention coordinator.
Craig informed the Crow Wing County Board Tuesday on how the county teen pregnancy prevention coalition has worked to reduce the number of teen pregnancies.
The idea of starting a coalition began in 1990, after county staff discovered that Crow Wing County ranked sixth in the state in the highest number of teen pregnancies. Today the county is ranked in the 30s.
The teen pregnancy coalition took three actions to reduce the number of pregnancies. A newsletter is published that is mailed to all parents who have children in sixth- through ninth-grade.
"Parents need to be involved," said Craig. "There are tips in the newsletter for the parents."
The coalition members also work with students directly and speak in school classrooms. Students in 10th- and 11th-grade also are trained to speak to younger students, which Craig said is the most effective way in getting through to some of the teens.
The coalition also markets its cause through advertising. The coalition ad displayed at the movie theaters reaches 30,000 people a month.
Craig said the coalition's effort is working and the number of pregnancies has gone down. From 1992 to 1998, the number of pregnancies of girls age 15-17 decreased from 40 to 24. Pregnancies of girls 18-19 years old dropped from 70 to 47.
The number of births in the county to teens also decreased. Teens who were 15-17 years old gave birth to 25 babies in 1992 and 18 in 1998. The number of births to 18-19 year olds dropped from 54 to 39.
Craig also reported the sexual activity of ninth- and 12th-graders in the county has reduced. Females in ninth-grade involved in sexual activities decreased by 10 percent from 1995 to 1998. For senior girls, 55 percent were sexually active in 1995 and 46 percent were active in 1998.
Male sexual activity also decreased. Ninth-graders dropped their sexual activity by half from 1989 to 1998. A However, Craig said even with the numbers decreasing there is much work to do. She said today's problems are a concern.
"Alcohol and drug use problems are serious risk factors for teen pregnancy," said Craig. "Our county ranks three for alcohol sales and ranks eighth in the number of places to purchase alcohol."
Craig also said high levels of sexual abuse have been reported and 43 percent of sexually abused children are sexually active.
Another concern is the high number of single mothers, said Craig. In 1982, 12 percent of the mothers in the state were not married and in 1999, the number increased to 25 percent.
The coalition receives state funding.
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