2010 TeenNow California Conference Details

By Jennifer Ashlock, Operations and Communications Coordinator

The details have been confirmed for our upcoming 2010 TeenNow California Conference!  This year we are splitting the conference into 2 different conferences in Northern California and Southern California.  We hope that this will help organizations cut down on the costs of travelling and hotel stays.

A little information about the conferences:

The landscape of teen pregnancy prevention and teen parenting is changing every day, but at no time has it changed in so many ways as it is now.  We have more opportunities–and challenges–than ever before.  Federal funding opportunities for teen pregnancy prevention and supportive services for teen parents are exciting and bountiful, even as the California budget crisis has hit hard on every front.  Support for comprehensive, evidence-based programs is high, but political posturing threatens that support.  But don’t be dismayed by this changing landscape.  It offers us a unique chance to capitalize on the good and battle the bad.  Navigating through the changes takes careful attention, and requires that we all pool our resources to make the most out of every opportunity while standing together to battle threats.   This conference focuses on the way we need to start thinking to make sure that we weather the changes in the best way possible.  We will look at what best practices and programs are working and how to integrate those practices into our work.  We will provide you with information from new studies, tools to use, and help you understand how policies affect your work.  
The Northern California Conference will be held at The Patrick Hayes Learning Center in Sacramento, CA.  The preconference will take place on September 29, 2010.  You can also take advantage of an AFLP Seminar at the Northern conference only.  The TeenNow California conference on the following day also includes additional training for AFLP grantees.  The Northern California conference will be September 30, 2010 with wonderful workshops to choose from and an exciting keynote speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Miller .
The Southern California preconference will be held on October 4, 2010 at Cal State San Bernardino in San Bernardino, CA.  The actual conference for Southern California will be the very next day, October 5, 2010 and offers a variety of interactive and informative workshops to choose from.  The keynote speaker is Dr. Kim Clark and is sure to be captivating!
For more info and to register for the conference, please visit our web site.  The call for proposals for conference workshops is also on our web site.  Check back often for more information!

Budget Revision Expected This Week

The May Revision, when the Governor releases his updated plan for spending in the next year, is expected to come out this week, probably Friday. With a projected $18.6 billion shortfall, it can’t possibly be good. The Governor has said he won’t use new taxes to close to budget gap, but programs have already been cut so drastically that there seems to be little left to cut. A proposal released by the Democrats this week included imposing a 10 percent severance tax on oil production in the state, repealing corporate-tax breaks approved last year to spur job growth and assessing commercial property taxes differently—but would still only slash about $2.9 billion per year.

We won’t know for sure what’s going on the chopping block in the May Revise until it comes out, but we know it won’t be pretty. And we know that we’re going to have to gather together to make a strong statement in protest of cuts that hurt children and families. I hope you’ll join us.


Today is National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

By Jennifer Ashlock, Operations and Communications Coordinator, TeenNow California

Today is the ninth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, spearheaded by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies.  The primary purpose of this day is to help teens focus on the importance of avoiding teen pregnancy and other consequences of sex.  The National Campaign has a variety of resources for teens, including an online game with puzzles that test teens’ knowledge about issues and situations relating to teen pregnancy.  An added bonus is that the teens that complete the puzzles are eligible to win prizes.  Also be on the lookout for a Public Service Announcement design contest that encourages teens to submit their ideas and artwork regarding teen pregnancy prevention. 

This amazing day has support from more than 200 national organizations and media outlets that serve as official National Day partners.  To see what organizations in your area or throughout California are doing to support the day click here.  There are not many social problems that have improved as dramatically over the past 10 years as teen pregnancy.  Unfortunately after a steady decline the teen pregnancy rate rose 3% in 2006.  It is not just teens that need to be reminded of the importance of teen pregnancy prevention, but all communities need a renewed focus to curb this incline. 

There are plenty of resources for you to share with teens as well as parents to help increase teen pregnancy prevention awareness.  Encourage teens to take the National Day quiz so they can test their knowledge and see what they would do in certain situations.  They will also be eligible to win prizes.  The National Campaign has also put together some informative guides for both parents and teens.  Click here for the parent guide and click here for the teen guide.  Don’t forget about the Stay Teen Block Party game that teens can play now through the end of May.  This will test your knowledge on teen pregnancy prevention, sex myths, relationship issues, and much more through a series of 9 challenging and fun trivia puzzles.

Remember, prevention begins with you!

Parent-Child Communication

A new study put out by North Carolina State University shows that most parents don’t think their teens are having sex–although they think that their kids’ friends are. The study, conducted by researcher Sinikka Elliott, an assistant professor of sociology at North Carolina State University, found that most parents interviewed say their children as immature or naive. The parents felt that if their children did engage in sex, it would be because someone had taken advantage of them or pressured them into it.

While I’m sure that all parents can identify with the urge to close their eyes and pretend their children aren’t growing up, this particular fantasy has devastating side effects. Parent who can’t come to terms with the fact that their adolescent children are most likely thinking about sex, talking about sex and possibly engaging in sex tend to neglect the responsibility to talk to their kids about the consequences of sex, and how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection. Parents should—and can—be an integral part of their children’s sex education, by being open to questions, bringing up issues related to sex and relationships, and even taking on the job of teaching their kids about reproduction, abstinence and contraception.

There are a lot of great resources for parents who want to learn how to talk to their children about sex. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unintended Pregnancy offers many booklets, as does Advocates for Youth. We recommend that parents check out these resources, or that professionals who work with teens and parents look at ways to foster the involvement of parents in the sex education of their children. The link below is a good starting point.