Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month Shares May with National Foster Care Month

 

A Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Each May, National Foster Care Month serves as a reminder that there are children, youth, and families in our communities who require our collective support to achieve safety, permanence, and the tools needed to thrive in adulthood. This month is a time for us to acknowledge and express our gratitude to those who provide a helping hand to children in foster care, including professionals, foster parents, mentors, and others.

National Foster Care Month is also a time to reflect on how we can work together to better serve all children and ensure that every child has a safe, permanent family and that their well-being needs are met.

Nearly 400,000 children in the United States are in foster care. Most will be reunited with their families or find a permanent home through kinship care, guardianship, or adoption. However, it also is important to remember that each year approximately 24,000 youth “age out” of foster care without a permanent legal family.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, former foster youth who were in foster care when they aged out and who were enrolled in Medicaid or a waiver program while in foster care are now eligible for Medicaid until they reach age 26 in most cases.

As the federal agency charged with ensuring the welfare of children throughout this country, the Children’s Bureau, within the Administration for Children and Families of HHS, works with child welfare professionals and institutions year-round to discover, test, and promote best practices. In 2014, the Children’s Bureau funded a number of new initiatives, including:

  • Awards for agencies to test new strategies for recruiting resource families for children in foster care.
  • Grants to states, localities, and tribes to build the capacity of child welfare systems to prevent long-term homelessness among youth and young adults who have been involved with child welfare.
  • Funding for states, localities, and universities to develop initiatives that will improve the social and emotional well-being of children who are involved with child welfare and have mental and behavioral health needs.
  • The National Foster Care Month initiative, with this year’s theme of “Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families,” promotes awareness of children in foster care through a website and resources at https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth.

During National Foster Care Month, we encourage all Americans to seek out ways to support children in foster care and assist those who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of these vulnerable children in need, including child welfare professionals, foster families, and mentors. Not every individual or family is in a position to foster a child in need, but everyone can play a role. To all who have given their time, love, and commitment to the children in foster care and their families, we thank you.

Visit the National Foster Care Month website to learn more: https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/

TeenNow is celebrating National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM). 

by Pam Kitagawa

Since 1995, when NTPPM was born, the nation has made significant progress in reducing the unintended pregnancy rates and supporting teen mothers, fathers and their families.  The statistics show that this is especially true for California, which has had the largest drop in teen pregnancy rates in the nation. But the work isn’t finished. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, nearly 3 in 10 girls in the US get pregnant by the time they are 20.

A new Fact Sheet, American Teens Sexual and Reproductive Health, released by the Guttmacher Institute this month indicates that there is a rise of teens using contraception. However young women 14 years of age or younger are less likely than their older counterparts to have used any method at first sex and take longer to use contraception. Additionally, Guttmacher has also released another report this month, US Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2010: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity. You can get these and other reports and fact sheets at www.guttmacher.org.  This data and more indicate that we still have a great deal of work to do.

The National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month began in 1995, when Barbara Huberman, then the Director of Education and Outreach at Advocates for Youth, recognized a need for inclusive, coordinated action to reduce unintended teen pregnancy nationwide. The National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month was born. This month gives us all an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments and look ahead to the work that still needs to be done.

TeenNow California supports ensuring access to comprehensive sexuality education for students is paramount to providing young people with the knowledge, tools, and social support they need to make informed decisions.

That’s why this May we’re asking for your help in asking Members of Congress to support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA), a bill that lays out a comprehensive and inclusive vision for sex education in the United States, including California.

REHYA would make sex education awesome. Awesome sex education connects with young people’s lives and experiences. It doesn’t ignore or stigmatize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, or young people who have already had sex. Most of all, it empowers young people to make healthy decisions. We all deserve that kind of sex education; now let’s go make it happen!

Contact your Members of Congress today to either thank him or her,  or ask them to support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act.  You can also sign the petition at Amplify (a project of Advocates for Youth.

Let us know in the comment what you have been doing for NTPPM!

2014 Person of the Year

 

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With gratitude, respect, honor and love, TeenNow is proud to introduce our Person of the Year, Barbara Huberman! There are few people who have influenced teen pregnancy prevention efforts more than Barbara. She has been involved in adolescent sexuality and sexuality education for more than 40 years.

 Barbara’s influence is nationwide and, deep in the community level efforts. She earned a BS degree in Nursing and a Masters in Education from the University of North Carolina. Barbara is a certified sex educator and counselor. She is the founder and former president of the nationally recognized Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of North Carolina and helped organize and create the South Carolina Campaign. Forrest Alton, CEO of the SC Campaign has this to say about Barbara Huberman, “ She is the brains and the inspiration behind so much of the good work that is happening here in our state.” All statewide coalitions, including TeenNow, feel exactly the same. Her achievement list is lengthy. Some of her stellar work includes:

  • Foundation Board Member of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
  • National Director of Training and Sexuality Education for Advocates for Youth.
  • Creator of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month
  • Founder of “Let’s Talk Month” in October
  • Former President of the National Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting and Prevention (Healthy Teen Network)

 She has authored several books including “200 Way to Prevent Teen Pregnancy” and “Building Local Councils on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention”.

 

TeenNow is proud to honor Barbara Huberman as our 2014 Person of the Year.