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Teen pregnancy an “epidemic” in foster care

July 23, 2009 Leave a comment

I read an interesting article from Time yesterday about teen pregnancy in foster care. It’s never anything that I’ve really thought about (despite me volunteering with foster kids every week), and the article is quite enlightening about this topic. It’s definitely a recommended reading!

To start off with a stat: Nearly 50% of girls in foster care have been pregnant at least once before they are 19. My reaction was a big, fat wow. There is clearly something wrong here! Luckily, the article goes into why this is obviously neglected.

Yet very few advocates and policymakers have focused on the issue of pregnancy among foster youth. “Most people in the teen-pregnancy field don’t really pay much attention to teens in foster care,” explains the National Campaign’s senior policy director, Andrea Kane. “And most people working in the child-welfare system are so busy trying to place kids in homes that they don’t focus much on pregnancy prevention.”

The article also says that girls in foster care are more likely to have sex at a younger age, be forced to have sex and less likely to use contraception. Well, these issues just open another can of worms which can be connected with education, the instability of foster care (and sometimes the bad conditions of foster care), peer groups, etc.

Of course within the realm of education, comes sex education. The article brings up this issue as a big one. Social workers aren’t talking to the kids about sex education, and the foster parents are definitely not bringing it up. I mean, it’s true. Parents of even their even biological children don’t want to talk about sex. It’s just one of those things that gets “passed off” to someone else, which usually ends up being peer groups, and we all know that peer groups aren’t the best place to learn what you need to learn about sex.

Fortunately, something is being done about this.

Planned Parenthood is recruiting and training thousands of peer educators — many of them in foster care themselves — who can reach out to teens with medically accurate advice. The organization is also testing out an online chat service that enables teens to get answers from a health professional at any time, day or night. “Sometimes,” says Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, “we find teens are more comfortable asking a total stranger.”

This is a great solution, and I hope that it will work at least to some extent! Obviously nothing is going to happen overnight, but the more advocacy for these foster kids, the better.

Oh the scandal!

December 19, 2007 6 comments

I am sorry that I have to make a post about the most recent famous teen pregnancy, but after reading some responses on People (I know, it’s horrible that I occasionally read that trash!), I have decided that I really do see a feminist issue within all of this.

First off, Jamie Lynn Spears and her boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, made a mistake. Probably some unprotected sex, because you know, abstinence only education is the way to be! And…seriously, who let’s there teenage children live together? But obviously this pregnancy thing wasn’t purposeful, and all we’re hearing now is how it’s all Jamie’s fault, as well as her mothers. This is why I had to respond to this news. Here are some quotes from People:

“This is a shock to anyone? Where are the role models? … I blame the parents on this one for not educating their daughters to behave like ladies (bold mine).

Ladies? Ladies? Seriously? So, her boyfriend had nothing to do with this? Give me a break! This was a decision on both their parts, and Jamie shouldn’t have to have misogynistic expectations on her just because she happens to have a vagina. We’re in a new age people! Women, and young women at that, have SEX. Oh there! I said it! They have sex! Get over it. And she doesn’t need education on how to behave like a lady. She, and her boyfriend, and the rest of the youth in the U.S. need a good, solid, sexual education program. That’s what they need.

And now onto the mother. Huffington Post said:

“Lynne Spears, what were you thinking? Or not thinking and not doing?”

Well, I must say, kids are growing up quite fast these days and they happen to have their own minds and make decisions for themselves. No parent can stop their child from having sex. And what about Jamie’s dad? Is he in all of this? Is he being held responsible with words like these? No. He’s not.

This is hopefully the first and last time I will posting on this, unless more feminist issues arise from it. I don’t want to make some spectacle out of this, as it already has been made out to be! But this is a clear example of why a comprehensive sexual education is needed. Teens are going to make these decisions either way, but they need to be educated about damn contraceptives!

Isn’t it ironic?

November 5, 2007 1 comment

Texas has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the United States! Hm…I wonder why that is?

Texas’ policy is to deny contraceptives without parental consent wherever possible and to push an abstinence-only sex education program in public schools.

Experts, though, are questioning that approach. They note that from 1991 to 2004, the state’s teen birth rate dropped by 19 percent, while the U.S. rate dipped by one-third.

There is clear correlation here. Abstinence-only education and parental consent for contraceptives equates to teen pregnancy. What teen would want to ask their parents for consent for freaking condoms? I sure wouldn’t ask my parents for consent. And obviously most teens aren’t, and are having sex, “hoping for the best”, as in hopefully they won’t get pregnant.

When will the government realize this mistake of abstinence-only education and parental consent? It is very true that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent a pregnancy, but it’s not realistic in our society today. The government needs to be doing what’s best for the people they are trying to govern, instead of thinking about their own religious ideaologies.