Thriving Families Priority Area
1. 3% in reduction in infant mortality
2. 3% reduction in repeat teen births
Teen pregnancy has a devastating effect on educational levels, birth weights, children in poverty, drop-out rates and infant mortality rates.
Although the teen birth rate in South Carolina has fallen by 54% since the early 90s - including a substantial 13% decrease between 2012 and 2013 which achieved the lowest level of 31.6 per 1,000 - South Carolina still has the 12th highest teen birth rate in the nation. More than 4,700 teens give birth in our state each year and many counties lag far behind the national averages.
In Spartanburg County, the teen birth rates for girls ages 15-19 has declined from 65.4% in 2004 to 32.9% in 2013. Nevertheless, the county rates remain higher than the 2013 state rates (31.6%) and the 2013 national rates (26.6 %). See the latest data comparing Spartanburg County with its peer counties and the state from kidscount.org below.
The annual cost to South Carolina taxpayers is estimated at more than $13 million. Teen birth rates are reflected in percentages of children in poverty (27.2%), dropout rates (2.6%), low birth weight babies (9.3%), and infant mortality rates per 1,000 live births (2.0%).
What is being done?
Multiple collaborators in Spartanburg County have embarked on an intensive effort to break the cycle of teen pregnancy and generational poverty. Building upon an established program at Middle Tyger Community Center and Upstate Family Resource Center, the Adolescent Family Life Program (ALF) was expanded into all seven Spartanburg school districts in 2014-2015. The goals of the program are:
- Increase the educational attainment of young parents
- Improve their parenting skills
- Delay additional pregnancies to full adulthood
No participants in ALF experienced a repeat pregnancy in 2014. For the 2013-2014 school year, 95% of participants achieved their education goals (graduated from high school, earned GED, or advanced to the next grade level.) All of the babies born to AFL mothers were healthy, and 100% of the children received their immunizations according to schedule. Forty students attained their GED Certificates.
A Success Story: Adrian
Adrian was only in 9th grade when she found herself pregnant. When Adrian first came to the Adolescent Family Life Program (AFL) at Middle Tyger Community Center, she was shy, withdrawn, and distrustful. But as the months passed, she developed a relationship with her case manager and came to trust her and listen to her guidance. Adrian faithfully attended high school and weekly parenting classes. She delivered Elisa at 40 weeks and at a healthy weight. Just six weeks later, Adrian brought Elisa to childcare at Middle Tyger Community Center and returned to high school. Her case manager continued to conduct home visits and Adrian participated in the AFL Program for three years until her graduation from high school. She continued her education at Spartanburg Community College and now works as a bilingual receptionist in a medical office. Elisa is in the first grade and brings home all A's. She calls her mother's former case manager "Tia", which means "Aunt" in Spanish.