ANR responds to Hispanic teenage pregnancy
Members of the Teen Pregnancy Coalition of San Mateo County visit area middle and high schools to share the realities of teen parenting with students
The teen birthrate for Latinos is nearly four times the birth rate for white teens in California (California Department of Health 1995; fig. 1). In response to this alarming statistic, the Latina Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project was designed by 4-H youth-development advisors and collaborators in the San Francisco Bay Area to develop “best practices” for professionals who work to prevent teen pregnancy among Latino teens. The project critically examines recommendations by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) for effective teenage pregnancy prevention and parenting programs to determine if they are relevant for efforts to prevent Latina pregnancy in the Bay Area. NCLR is the largest constituency-based, non-profit organization in the country, encompassing 2 million Hispanics nationwide.
The nonadult Hispanic population in California is growing rapidly ( see pages 11 and 48 ) Further, this population has the highest pregnancy rate, and thus is overrepresented among adolescent parents, while young Latina mothers have poor educational and employment profiles. It is important to identify effective pregnancy-prevention practices among this population to encourage Latino youth to postpone pregnancy until they are better prepared educationally, financially and emotionally to become parents.
This research compares strategies for working with adolescent Latinas gathered from the literature with reports from practitioners. Through audiotaped interviews, practitioners are asked if they agree or disagree with key recommendations in teen pregnancy prevention. Participants are given the opportunity to discuss their experiences and views on issues such as cultural sensitivity, comprehensive services, family and male involvement, education, work and gender roles.
Preliminary results of this ongoing study confirm that the “best practices” for teen-pregnancy prevention not only vary across cultural groups (Anglo and Latino), but among Latinos as well. These results will be shared with pregnancy-prevention practitioners through training and educational resource materials. By incorporating research-based, culturally specific “best practices” with ongoing field research, ANR can work to strengthen the capacity of schools and community agencies in their pregnancy-prevention efforts.
Fig. 1. Number of births to teenage females in California, 1996
ANR Program Priorities/Human Resources: Family and Individual Well-being
“Improve the status and well-being of families and youth living in high risk environments by reviewing and disseminating research in Human Development that leads to developing, modifying, testing and implementing educational programs and curricula that support families and youth such as developing parenting skills, building developmental assets in youth, and enhancing protective and resiliency factors in youth, families and communities (PPAC 1999).”