California’s teen birth rate is continuing to drop, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The teen birth rate has declined to 28.0 births per every 1,000 teens ages 15-19, announced Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and the state public health officer.
Chapman said the rate is the lowest since 1991, when it peaked at 70.9 per one thousand.
Lake County's teen birth rate for 2011 was 38.3 births per thousand, according to state data.
“California’s innovative strategies and community partnerships aimed at lowering teen pregnancy are helping young women and men make responsible choices,” said Dr. Chapman. “We must not be complacent; we must continue to promote teen pregnancy prevention programs and strategies in all communities.”
The report showed that Lake County's numbers have dropped over the most recent three years tracked by the state.
In 2009, the county's teen birth rate was 44.4 per thousand, which declined to 43.8 in 2010 and then the recent 38.3 per thousand rate in 2011, for a 2009-10 aggregate number of 42.1 per thousand.
There were 11 counties with higher aggregate teen birth rates than Lake for the 2009 to 2011 time period, according to the data.
The decrease in teen birth rates was reflected among all ethnic groups, according to the data.
Hispanic teens 15-19 years old continued to have the highest birth rate at 42.7 per 1,000, but they demonstrated a decline of 42 percent, down from 73.6 per 1,000 in 2001.
From 2001 to 2011, the number of births per 1,000 teens dropped among African American teens from 51.8 to 34.1, among white teens from 20.1 to 11.2, and among Asian teens from 13.9 to 5.3.
Early childbearing often negatively impacts academic achievement, earning potential for mother and father, maternal and infant outcomes, and early childhood development.
Health officials said the prevention of early childbearing is an essential step in improving the health of California’s youth and the well-being of the next generation of California families and communities.
California has a number of programs and policies aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and improving outcomes in the case of teen pregnancies. Some of the key components to the state’s multi-pronged approach include:
State laws requiring that school-based and other state-funded sexuality education must be comprehensive, medically accurate, and age- and culturally-appropriate.
Community-based education programs for teens and their parents that provide sexual health information, skill development, and supportive environments and opportunities for youth.
Services and supports for expectant and parenting teens to empower young families to be successful and thrive.
CDPH funds the Information and Education Program, the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) which was authorized through the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and the Adolescent Family Life Program for pregnant and parenting teens.
In addition, the state provides no-cost family planning services to eligible men and women, including teens through the Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care and Treatment) Program.