More specifically, if teen birthrates had held at the levels reached in the early 1990s, by 1999 this proportion would have been more than a full percentage point higher.
Thus, a focus on teenagers has a major role to play in future reductions of both out-of-wedlock childbearing and the growth of single-parent families.
Family and community values, not a federal mandate, should prevail, especially in an area as sensitive as this one. Community-based programs are only part of the solution to teen pregnancy.
Indeed, only 10 percent of teens report they have participated in such a program (outside of school), while on average teens spend more than 38 hours a week exposed to various forms of entertainment media.
In addition to being small, such efforts may or may not be effective in preventing pregnancy.
Fortunately, we know more about this topic now than we did even a few years ago. The short answer is “yes, some do.” Based on a careful review of the scholarly literature completed by Douglas Kirby of ETR Associates in Santa Cruz, California, a number of rigorously evaluated programs have been found to reduce pregnancy rates.The growth of public and private efforts to combat teen pregnancy may have also played a role, as suggested by surveys conducted by the National Governors’ Association, the General Accounting Office, the American Public Human Services Association, and most recently and comprehensively, by Child Trends.The Child Trends study, conducted by Richard Wertheimer and his associates at the Urban Institute, surveyed all 50 states in both 19.The other includes a range of services such as tutoring and career counseling along with sex education and reproductive health services.Both have been replicated in diverse communities and evaluated by randomly assigning teens to a program and control group.The survey shows that states have dramatically increased their efforts to reduce teen pregnancy (figure 3).These efforts include everything from the formation of statewide task forces to more emphasis on sex education in the public schools and statewide media campaigns.Two of these programs have reduced rates by as much as one-half.One is a program that involves teens in community service with adult supervision and counseling.Equally significant is the fact that teens are now having less sex.Up until the 1990s, despite some progress in convincing teens to use contraception, teen pregnancy rates continued to rise because an increasing number of teens were becoming sexually active at an early age, thereby putting themselves at risk of pregnancy.