By Stan Martin
Summer is winding down in Western New York, along with hot days, vacations, and the slower pace of learning. As many head back to school, we need to be more cognizant of the math around teen pregnancy in our community.
Buffalo has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the United States. In 2012, the average teen birth rate was 61.3 per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19. With the exception of New York City, this is more than three times higher than the overall average of 18.5 per 1,000 females in New York State. Not only does this result in a high personal cost to teens, but there is also a high economic cost associated with teen pregnancy. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, teen childbearing in New York State costs taxpayers roughly $337 million yearly. The bright side is that there is some good news.
• Between 2010 and 2014 Buffalo’s teen pregnancy rate declined by 32 percent.
• The Office of Adolescent Health awarded $10 million over five years to the Buffalo Collaborative Community initiative to engage the community in reducing teen pregnancy in Buffalo by 30 percent. Efforts are well underway and the second year of this work is beginning this month.
• Buffalo has a robust network of community organizations serving youth, health care providers, and school health initiatives for teens that offer education, resources, tools, and access to sexual health care services. All of these are important in helping teens make better choices regarding their sexual health and possible parenthood.
• Nearly 30 leaders ranging from community organizations, faith based organizations, health care providers, the Buffalo Public School District, and concerned community champions have come together as part of the Buffalo Collaborative Community initiative to replicate evidenced-based teen pregnancy prevention programs and promote comprehensive adolescent health.
As we return to our busier lives this fall, it is great to know that when we add it all up, we’re working together on a winning equation – healthier teens, and a healthier socioeconomic future in Buffalo.
To learn more about the efforts to reduce teen pregnancy in Buffalo and create a safe and healthy environment for our teens, visit www.caiglobal.org/BCC, and watch for upcoming community forum announcements. To get involved, contact Maisha Drayton, Deputy Director of Community Mobilization and Capacity Building for the Buffalo Collaborative Community initiative to reduce teen pregnancy at (716) 566-2329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Stan Martin is Director at Cicatelli Associates Inc. (CAI), located in New York City. Learn more at caiglobal.org or call 212-594-7741, Ext. 233 or email email@example.com.