The Teen Pregnancy Puzzle graphically demonstrates the
complexity of teen pregnancy prevention and the need for comprehensive solutions. Research
has shown that these twelve components are key to reducing teen pregnancy.
60% of teens who become parents
are living in poverty before they become pregnant. 70% of unmarried teen mothers
receive public assistance within five years of giving birth. Communities must
provide affordable housing, living wage jobs, academic and career education and child care
to all families in need.
Collaboration and Support
A multifaceted approach to teen
pregnancy prevention is the best method of prevention. All sectors must be included
in a grassroots effort.
Up to 70 percent of teen mothers
have a history of sexual abuse. 60 percent of women who had sex before age 15 report
having had sex involuntarily. Communities and schools must provide violence
prevention and early intervention services.
Prime time TV contains roughly
three sexual acts per hour. Teach teens critical viewing skills and develop media
campaigns that promote positive health messages.
Teen parents and their children
are at high-risk for school failure, poverty and future teen pregnancies. Academic,
parenting and child care services are needed to ensure positive parenting skills and
school success for teen parents and their children.
Rseearch shows knowledge and
behavior changes resulting from comprehensive sexuality education. Schools,
community organizations and religious congregations need to provide age-appropriate,
medically accurate sexuality education for children, youth and parents.
Youth with higher grade point
averages are more likely to delay sexual involvement than lower-achieving youth.
Students need tutors, mentors and support services to ensure academic success.
Adolescents underutilize health
services and often lack health insurance. Teens need access to confidential,
comprehensive and affordable physical and mental health services provided by trained
adolescent health practitioners.
Programs must reflect and respect
the values and practices of communities. Community members must be involved in
developing culturally specific and multicultural programs.
Parent and Adult
Teens who feel connected with
their parents are more likely to remain sexually abstinent and use contraception
consistently. Communities must develop education programs giving parents and other
caring adults skills in communicating about sexual health.
Teens who experiment with sex
also experiment with drugs and alcohol. 28 percent of sexually active high school
students report having used alcohol or drugs at last intercourse. Communities
need to make substances less accessible in homes and businesses.
Adolescents connected to and
valued by family, schools and community are more likely to postpone sexual activity and
delay pregnancy. Communities must provide opportunities for meaningful youth
For more about
what your community can do, MOAPPP has developed a Teen
Pregnancy Puzzle Manual to accompany this outline. If you would like
to order a copy, please contact MOAPPP at 651-644-1447 or print out an order
from by clicking on the above link.