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Teen Pregnancy: TN Prosecutors ask “What’s the Rush?”

March 1, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Many adults believe teenagers are neither emotionally nor financially equipped to be parents. A new awareness program - called "What's the Rush?" - has been started by Tennessee's district attorneys, at their General Conference, to point out some of the lesser-known problems of children raising children.

Among the points noted in the campaign, District 16 Attorney General Bill Whitesell says eight out of ten fathers do not marry the mother of their first child, and rarely provide financial support for the children.

"There is something to be said for having a father figure in the home; someone to help mentor the child from the male point of view. It's hard to explain the statistic, but it really just comes down to common sense."

Whitesell says research shows that sons of teen mothers are 50 percent more likely to end up in prison, and the children of teen mothers are twice as likely to suffer abuse and neglect, compared to offspring of older mothers.

"Statistics show children who are raised as a result of teenage pregnancy many times are more likely to have trouble as children growing up, and later may turn to crime."

Whitesell observes that parenting is hard at any age, but teens are less likely to be emotionally and financially prepared for it.

To better get their message across to teenagers, the district attorneys are providing information for Facebook and MySpace pages so peers can share their stories.

More information and campaign materials are available at www.tndagc.org

Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN