From the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
MYRTLE BEACH, SC Recently, South Carolina received good news related to teen pregnancy prevention. Data shows that teen birth rates in SC have dropped 13% from 2009 to 2010. This decline should be celebrated by young people and the adults who care about them and proves that we are winning the battle in South Carolina. However, an in-depth look at the numbers is a stark reminder of the work that remains.
"We are heading in the right direction in Horry County," says Angel Onley-Livingston, Horry County Specialist for the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign). "Now, we must build upon this momentum and reflect on our strategies and successes from the past 10 years in order to continue seeing declines in our teen birth rates."
Teen pregnancy has long been an issue in South Carolina, and we currently rank twelfth highest in the nation for birth rates among teens 15 to 19. In Horry County, there were 329 babies born to teens (15-19) in 2010. Each one of those babies was born with challenging odds as statistically they are more likely to have a low birth weight, grow up in poverty, enter the child welfare system and suffer academically.
Yet the consequences reach beyond the family, with teen pregnancies costing Horry County on average $8.7 million per year in health costs, lost tax revenue and public assistance.
The SC Campaign, a non-profit organization committed to the prevention of adolescent pregnancy in South Carolina; led a research effort in February 2011 to better understand the issues facing Horry County. Data was collected in two ways. First, locally trained youth administered a door-to-door survey interviewing randomly selected teens aged 15 to 19. Then, in April, the University of South Carolina's Institute for Public Service and Policy Research administered a random digit dialing survey of Horry adults, including parents of teens. The result is a picture of community members' beliefs, knowledge and perceptions around the issue of teen pregnancies, pregnancy prevention resources and sexual health education in Horry County.
The full data reflect community perceptions of teen pregnancy, understanding of resources available, teen habits, contraception usage and desires for more education. Livingston has since called together the Horry Community Action Group, a group of community members to investigate the data and implement localized plans to support the SC Campaign's goal of decreasing teen pregnancies by 10%.
To announce the full release of data and to brand the community based project, the SC Campaign is revealing Not Right Now, Put Pregnancy on Pause, a brand that uses impacting, respectful language to urge parents, influencers, and teens to "put pregnancy on pause" until they are more ready to handle the demands of parenthood. The SC Campaign is hosting an Open House at its Myrtle Beach office on February 9 from 11am until 1pm where it will unveil the Not Right Now brand and website, www.nrnhorry.com.