Teen Pregnancy Prevention Groups Funding Will Be Cut

Thursday, July 20th 2017, 10:17 pm
By: News On 6

Oklahoma is ranked second-highest in the nation when it comes to teen birth rates. 

And that number could get even worse. Several teen pregnancy prevention groups just found out their funding is being cut. 

Youth Services of Tulsa was shocked when it got a letter in the mail last week saying this will be the last year they receive a government grant. 

These students are still in middle and high school but they're already learning how to operate their own businesses. They're part of a program at Union Public Schools called Tulsa Carrera. It's a career preparatory program focused on teenage pregnancy prevention. 

"We know by reducing the teen birth rate, we are raising graduation rates. We're sending more kids to college. More kids are going to graduate from tech schools," said Sharla Owens. 

Tulsa Carrera partners with Youth Services of Tulsa and the Teen Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Together...they've made progress. 

Since 2012, Oklahoma's teen birth rate has dropped 26 percent and Tulsa County's dropped 28. However, there's still a lot of work to do. 

"Oklahoma still remains the second-highest in the nation in teen birth rates so we have a long ways to go in Oklahoma. This is a huge need," said Owens. 

A major setback now puts their work in jeopardy. A letter from the federal government saying their five-year grant will end next summer. 

"There was just an additional line that said, 'And this will be the last year of funding.' There was no explanation. That's how we found out," said Owens. 

That means students could end up with less-quality education and fewer resources in a state that could use more. 

For more information, visit the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy website.