Impact of Teen Pregnancy
Public Health Impact
Educational Impact and Socioeconomic Impact
64% of children born to an unmarried, teenage high-school dropout live in poverty, compared to 7% of children born to women over age 20, who are married and are high school graduates.
Within Connecticut, the town with the highest teen birth rate (ages 15-19 years old) for calendar years 2006-2008 combined was New Britain (75.6 per 1,000), three times higher than the statewide rate of 25.0 per 1,000, and nearly two times higher than the 2007 U.S. rate of 42.5 per 1,000 (Hamilton, et al, 2009; J. Morin & C. Stone, DPH, personal communication). Hartford (64.3 per 1,000), Bridgeport (63.7 per 1,000), Waterbury (58.3 per 1,000), New Haven (50.6 per 1,000), Groton (45.5 per 1,000) and Meriden (43.1 per 1,000) had teen birth rates that were at least 1.7-fold higher than the overall statewide rate, and these towns were elevated significantly compared to U.S. rate. Other towns with teen birth rates greater than the statewide average included East Hartford (37.5 per 1,000), Torrington (33.6 per 1,000), Norwich (30.1 per 1,000), New London (29.5 per 1,000), Windham (28.6 per 1,000), West Haven (27.7 per 1,000), Manchester (27.0 per 1,000), and Danbury (26.3 per 1,000).
Towns with high teen birth rates in 2008 were correlated with children living in poverty (r = 0.79), and were marginally correlated with high rates of high school dropout (r = 0.55). These data indicate that strategies to prevent teen pregnancy need to be coordinated with neighboring high schools. These data also suggest that teen pregnancy prevention strategies should include culturally-sensitive messages of appropriate literacy that reach Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black/African American teens. High teen birth rates are located predominantly in towns of high and moderate population, but elevated teen birth rates are also located in surrounding areas with less population density.
Evidence-based Prevention Strategies
Reducing the Risk
Reducing the Risk (RTR) is a skills-based curriculum designed to help teens prevent pregnancy and the transmission of STD, including HIV. It was developed for 9th & 10th grade high school students. Reducing the Risk was one of the first rigorously evaluated sexuality education curricula to have a measurable impact on behavior. The program delivers and reinforces the following messages:
- Abstinence is the best and safest choice.
- Youth should avoid unprotected sex.
- Youth should always use protection if they have sex.
The Department of Public Health partnered with the Capitol Regional Education Council (CREC) to implement the Reducing the Risk program as part of the School Health Education curriculum in the following high schools:
|High School Name||Street Address||City|
Academy of Aerospace & Engineering High School
1289 Blue Hills Avenue
Metropolitan Learning Center
1551 Blue Hills Avenue
474 School Street
Public Safety Academy
1617 King Street
Two Rivers Magnet High School
15 Van Dyke Street
Be Proud! Be Responsible!
Be Proud! Be Responsible! is a six part curriculum designed for high school students and delivered over six, one-hour sessions. The program is delivered through group discussions and exercises, videos, games, and role- play.
Be Proud! Be Responsible! is geared toward behavior modification and building knowledge, understanding, and a sense of responsibility regarding STD/HIV risk in vulnerable youth. It was designed to affect knowledge, beliefs, and intentions related to condom use and sexual behaviors, such as initiation and frequency of intercourse.
The core content of Be Proud! Be Responsible! includes:
- Teaching youth correct information about HIV, STDs and pregnancy and prevention strategies
- Behavioral attitudes/outcome expectancies
- Builds negotiation skills and problem-solving skills
- Builds self-efficacy in adolescents and a desire to practice abstinences
- Builds participants’ confidence in their skills by incorporating positive reinforcement, support and constructive feedback
Rigorous research and evaluation has proven that Be Proud! Be Responsible! has a miserable impact on behaviors.
The Department of Public Health partnered with the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) to implement Be Proud! Be Responsible! as part of the School Health Education curriculum in the following high schools:
|Abbott THS||21 Hayestown Road||Danbury|
|Wolcott THS||75 Oliver Street||Torrington|
|Bullard-Havens THS||500 Palisade Avenue||Bridgeport|
|Cheney THS||791 W. Middle Tpke.||Manchester|
|Ellis THS||613 Upper Maple Street||Danielson|
|Goodwin THS||735 Slater Road||New Britain|
|Grasso THS||189 Fort Hill Road||Groton|
|Kaynor THS||43 Tompkins Street||Waterbury|
|Norwich THS||7 Mahan Drive||Norwich|
|O'Brien THS||141 Prindle Avenue||Ansonia|
|Platt THS||600 Orange Avenue||Milford|
|Prince THS||401 Flatbush Avenue||Hartford|
|Vinal THS||60 Daniels Street||Middletown|
|Whitney THS||100 Fairfield Avenue||Hamden|
|Wilcox THS||298 Oregon Road||Meriden|
|Windham THS||210 Birch Street||Willimantic|
|Wright THS||120 Bridge Street||Stamford|
The Department of Public Health partnered with the following sites to deliver the Be Proud! Be Responsible! program to high school youth:
|Branford High School||185 East Main Street||Branford|
|Bulkeley High School||300 Wethersfield Avenue||Hartford|
|East Hartford High School||869 Forbes Street||East Hartford|
|High School, Inc.||275 Asylum Street||Hartford|
|Journalism and Media Academy||150 Tower Avenue||Hartford|
|Klingberg Family Centers||37 Linwood Street||New Britain|
|Weaver High Culinary and Arts Academy||415 Granby Street||Hartford|
|Windham High School||355 High Street||Willimantic|
The Department of Public Health partnered with the Department of Children & Families to deliver the Be Proud! Be Responsible! program as part of the High School Health Curriculum in the following residential facilities:
|Solnit South (Riverview)||915 River Road||Middletown|
|CT Juvenile Training School||1225 Silver Street||Middletown|
|Solnit North||36 Gardner Street||East Windsor|
Making Proud Choices! (2011 version)
Making Proud Choices! A Safer Sex Approach to STDs, Teen Pregnancy, and HIV Prevention is an eight-module curriculum that provides young adolescents with the knowledge, confidence, and skills necessary to reduce their risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV, and pregnancy by abstaining from sex, or using protection correctly and consistently. It is based on cognitive behavioral theories, focus groups, and the researchers' extensive experience working with youth. Making Proud Choices! is an adaptation and extension of the original Be Proud! Be Responsible! curriculum in that it integrates STD, HIV and pregnancy prevention. To reduce risk for STD/HIV and pregnancy risk-related behaviors, young adolescents need not only knowledge and perception of personal vulnerability, but also positive attitudes towards condom use, skills, and confidence in their ability to use condoms. The Making Proud Choices! curriculum is designed to meet those needs. The goal of Making Proud Choices! is to empower young adolescents to change their behavior in ways that will reduce their risk of becoming infected with HIV and other STDs, and their risk for pregnancy.
Making Proud Choices! was designed to be used with small groups ranging from six to 12 participants, but it can be implemented with larger numbers of youth. The curriculum can be implemented in various community settings, including schools or youth-serving agencies. The curriculum has eight hours of content divided into eight one-hour modules. It also can be implemented in eight sessions of 60 minutes each, or in four two-module sessions.
Implementing Making Proud Choices Sites
The Department of Public Health partnered with the New Britain YWCA to deliver the Making Proud Choices program to youth in the following tow middle schools.
|Middle School||Street Name||City|
Slade Middle School
183 Steele Street
Pulaski Middle School
757 Farmington Avenue
Teen Talk (A Promising Program)
Teen Talk is an intervention program developed by Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) with a goal to decrease rates of teen pregnancy and STD, HIV among teens aged 13-19. It is a co-ed, comprehensive PREP program designed to provide reproductive health education, and facilitate access to reproductive health care in order to delay sexual activity, prevent unplanned pregnancy, and prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs). Teen Talk is a ten-hour program comprised of four 2.5-hour sessions. Core design uses the Health Belief Model (HBM) behavior change theory.
The Teen Talk program was delivered to youth in child welfare congregate care group home settings. The program was rigorously evaluated by the Partners in Social Research, LLC after receiving Institutional Review Board approvals from the Department of Public Health and Department of Children & Families.
Streetwise to Sex-wise
Streetwise to Sex-wise Sexuality Education for High-Risk Youth (2nd Edition) was developed by Steve Brown and Bill Taverner. It provides a comprehensive model for a basic series on human sexuality for high-risk teens in non-traditional settings who often have limited academic skills and are resistant to classroom-based learning. Lessons are divided into a series for older teens (ages 14-19) and a series for pre-teens and young teens (ages 9-13).
Local Streetwise to Sexwise Implementing Sites
This program was delivered to youth in the Department of Children and Families Short term Assessment and Respite programs (STAR homes). In 2014-2015 the program will be expanded to programs serving youth with developmental disabilities and other youth in non-traditional settings.
Real Life. Real Talk. Sex Ed for Parents
Real Life. Real Talk. Sex Ed for Parents is a 90 minute program designed by Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) health educators with objectives to:
- identify the importance of the parental role and the level of their influence as sexuality educators;
- identify messages that parents give their children about sexuality and the impact of those messages on their sexual health;
- identify age-appropriate responses and information to give their children regarding sexuality; and provide resources that provide positive and accurate sexuality information for tweens and teens.
The Real Life. Real Talk. Sex Ed for Parents education has been delivered to foster and other parents across the state.
Human Sexuality and Adolescent Development
Human Sexuality and Adolescent Development was developed by Erin Livensparger, Regional Director, Education & Training for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England in 2011. To goal of the program is to increase participants’ regarding human sexuality. Participants are asked to explore their beliefs and values around human sexuality and discuss how those beliefs may or may not impact their behavior. Participants are taught the variety of influences that shape sexual identity, as well as ways to increase their comfort discussing issues related to human sexuality.
Human Sexuality and Adolescent Development Program Delivery
This program has been delivered to health education teachers as part of the orientation process for facilitator certification of evidence-based programs. Human Sexuality and Adolescent Development was delivered to State employees that oversee programs working with youth, including the Department of Public Health, Department of Children & Families, Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services and the State Department of Education.
Links & Other Information
Donna C. Maselli, RN, MPH
CT Department of Public Health
Family Health Section
410 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06134-8074
Telephone: (860) 509-8074