A recent favorable report from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control found the rate of births among teens in the state has dropped to its lowest level in state history. However, the report is tempered by the fact that South Carolina’s teen birth rate remains the 11th highest in the nation.
The state’s rate fell to 49 per 1000 teens age 15-19 in 2009-2010, a decline of 7.5 percent from the year before. Forrest Alton, CEO of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, says to put a further dent in the rate the campaign will be giving almost $2 million to local communities. The grants to targeted rural schools will be to educate young teens about responsible sexual behavior and the consequences resulting from teen pregnancies.
Alton says the schools that are selected will need the funds to secure instructors for the program that otherwise would not be hired due to budget cuts. Alton says his organization’s program has the support of the South Carolina Department of Education.
Alton says it is important to point out that, if the rate of births among teens in the state continues to fall, a number of education, economic, and health issues will be positively affected.
Increased high school performance, decreased dropout rates, increased economic stability, decreased infant mortality; all those things can happen if we can prevent teens from becoming pregnant.
Alton says a major drop in the teen pregnancy rate can occur if the state begins considering it a major health problem.