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Ohio Joins National Effort to Combat Teen Pregnancy

May 6, 2009

Columbus, OH - Thousands of Ohio teens take on the tough role of being parents each year, after unexpected pregnancies. Today is the Seventh Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and children's organizations in Ohio are hoping to focus the attention of teenagers on the importance of delaying parenthood.

The executive director of the Public Children's Services Association of Ohio, Crystal Ward Allen, says teen parents are at a huge disadvantage.

"They are not prepared emotionally to parent; they are not prepared with a full education and work-related experience to adequately support a child and family in this day and age."

Ward Allen says a renewed focus on preventing teen pregnancy is needed in Ohio.

"We want to make sure that teens are delaying sex to have it with the right person at the right time, and that they're well-informed so there are not unintended consequences."

After a 14-year decline, teen pregnancy rates are up for the second year in a row. Ohio ranks as 25th among states for teen pregnancies. Ward Allen points out that youth in foster care are more than twice as likely as others to have been pregnant at least once before age twenty.

Today, teens nationwide are being encouraged to go to www.stayteen.org to learn more about preventing pregnancy and to take a short quiz that challenges them to carefully think about what they might do "in the moment."

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH