A recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows Monroe County has the lowest teen pregnancy rate per capita in the state.
For every 1,000 births in Monroe County, 14 of them are to teenage mothers, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control. That is well below that statewide average of 42 births per 1,000.
Gina Forest facilitates a teen parenting support group at Indiana University Health Bloomington.
“We have the education that we do in 5th, 8th, and 10th grade,” she says. “But, just from a parents’ perspective and from working with the teens I would say 5th, 8th, and 10th is still older and I would move it back to 3rd, 6th, and 9th if I could because it’s changing and kids want to know.”
In Jennings County, the teen pregnancy rate is 73 per thousand, the highest per capita rate in the state. Jeanie Hahn, director of the county’s Council on Domestic Violence. She says teenage pregnancy has become a generational trend.
“I’ve even talked to women who have said I can’t wait until she has a grandchild for me, and they’re talking about their 16 year old daughter, because that woman had a baby at 16 or 15,” Hahan says.
According to the CDC, teen pregnancy and childbirth cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $9 billion each year.