Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Pregnancy Rates Alarmingly High Among Teens In Foster Care
Time Magazine: Teen Pregnancy: Reaching Epidemic Levels in Foster Care, by Amy Sullivan:
What's tougher than being a pregnant teenager? Try being a pregnant teenager in foster care. Miranda Sheffield had pinballed in and out of more than 10 foster homes in southern California by the time she became pregnant with her daughter at the age of 17. "I was close to aging out [of the system]," she says of the program that in most states finds temporary homes for children until they are 18. "And when I got pregnant, I found there was no support for me. It was like, 'We need to get you out of foster care because we won't be able to handle you and a baby.'"
After years of steady decline, teen-pregnancy rates are rising around the country. But the numbers for girls in the foster-care system have reached truly epidemic levels. One study at the University of Chicago found that nearly half of girls who had spent time in the foster-care system had been pregnant at least once by the time they were 19 years old. Even more troubling, unplanned pregnancy had already become a pattern for many of the young women — close to a quarter had experienced multiple pregnancies in their teens. . . .