The Waterloo area used to lead the state in the number of pregnancies among its teenage girls. Now, Black Hawk County has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in Iowa.
In 1995, 17 percent of the babies born in Black Hawk County were the child of a teenaged mother. That was the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state. A decade later, in 2005, 10 percent of the babies born in Black Hawk County had a teenaged mother.
Joni Spencer, coordinator of Black Hawk County’s " Together for Youth " program, says her county’s teen pregnancy rate is dropping twice as fast as the state’s, and she credits her program. "When we look at ‘Together for Youth" it is a community project…we really are working hard as a community," Spencer says. "That’s youth and parents and caretakers and everyone involved."
The program gets funding from traditional sources like the United Way as well as from a number of private foundations, including the Wal-Mart Foundation. "We’re working really hard to make sure that the kids are getting what they need for sex ed and also building on the skills that either the teacher or youth-services facilitator has already provided or what we are planning to provide," Spencer says.
The month of May is teen pregnancy prevention month. Spencer made her comments during an appearance today on Iowa Public Radio.