Teen Pregnancy Issue in the United States
Teen pregnancy is not a new social issue bearing the impacts that it has on society. A lot of young girls are obliged to pursue unbearable life experiences following their encounters with early pregnancies. The most concerning aspects of teen pregnancies is the aftermath of the experiences where the teenagers face numerous socio-economic and health challenges. Access to proper housing, food, and healthcare services are just a few of the challenges faced by such teenagers. In the wake of these challenges, the US government, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made teen pregnancy an integral component of the national health policy. The government created the teen pregnancy prevention program (TPPP), an extension of HHS that would objectively be tasked with prevention of teen pregnancies. Currently, people are left to ask questions whether the initiative has instilled any changes in the teen pregnancy indices. Understanding teen pregnancy from the point of view of a rolled program is important because it unearths the areas of weaknesses and strengths that must be addressed to achieve better results.This paper analyzes the problem of teen pregnancy through TPPP lens where the key facets of the program such as historical backgrounds, administration, and impacts among others are exploited.
Pregnancies among teenagers are a global problem even though it happens in some places more frequently than in others. Teenagers who come from poorer families are more susceptible to teenage pregnancies than their counterparts from rich families. In poor and marginalized families or societies, girls are pressurized to marry prematurely. This turns them into mothers when they are still very young (CDC, 2018). The amounts of teenage pregnancies increase whenever girls are denied autonomy to control their bodies. That is, if girls are coerced consistently to execute some tasks, they become deviant. On the same note, girls are highly likely to develop deviance when they are not involved in decisions pertaining to their reproductive health (Aubrey, Behm-Morawitz, & Kim, 2014). Other factors that lead to early teenage pregnancies include indulgence in drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, peer pressure, and influence from the media (CDC, 2018). If little efforts are put to manage these cases, chances are high that more girls will become mothers before their right time arrives.
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Various institutions have published data that exploit the prevalence of teen pregnancy in the US. In 2017, 194,377 babies were born by girls aged between 15-19 years (CDC, 2018). That number represented 18.8 pregnancies per 1000 girls in that age group. The data, however, indicates that the rates of births among teenagers were dropping considerably. For instance, in 2017, there was a 7% drop of pregnancies from women in their teenage (CDC, 2018). The data further indicated that teenagers between 15-17 years old manifested a 10% drop in the birth rate while those aged 18-19 years recorded a 6% drop in birth rates (CDC, 2018). While such statistics could be impressive, it is worth remarking that the same period also marked an increase in the number of abortions among teenagers. One cannot assume that all the cases of teenage pregnancies and abortions are reported to the authorities.
Ethnicity is one of the factors that have fueled the prevalence of teen pregnancies in America. Statistics indicate that Hispanic teens manifest 28.9% birth rate while non-Hispanic blacks recorded 27.5% birth rate. The birth rate of Alaska Native teens was 32.9% (CDC, 2018). The same data indicated that white teens only recorded a 13.2% birth rate, a considerable difference if compared to the other ethnic groups. Definitely, ethnic differences instill disparities when it comes to teenage pregnancies in the US. It is worth remarking that the period in 2016-2017 also coincided with significant drops in teenage pregnancies among different ethnic groups (Manlove et al., 2016). For instance, the rates dropped by 15% among non-Hispanic Asiana, 9% among Hispanics, 8% among whites, and 6% among blacks. While a number of factors could be attributed to such changes, more efforts should be put towards eliminating teen pregnancies completely.
Social Policy Program
The program is referred to as a teen pregnancy prevention program (TPPP). The program will be operating within the confines of the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH). OAH has been an integral partner in advocating for the adolescent health throughout the US (Neiterman, 2012). OAH collects data about teen health within the paradigms such as demographic characteristics, geographic location, and socioeconomic status among others. While OAH has been an integral component of teen health, it is not specific to issues such as teen pregnancies. In fact, OAH has always employed a holistic approach towards executing its mandate in managing teen health. The introduction of TPPP should complement the works of OAH by addressing one of the critical aspects of teenage health in the US currently.
Policy Legislative History
The teen pregnancy prevention program (TPPP) is a relatively new program that was started with the inception of OAH. OAH was established in 2010 within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (CDC, 2018). Coordination of the OAH activities was confined in the mandate of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Office of Adolescent Health was established to collect information about adolescent health and disseminate collected data to key stakeholders in the health industry. This move was initiated by Congress, which was motivated to ascertain the exact nature of the social issue. To execute its programs effectively, OAH opted for a subdivision of its activities to accommodate more specific roles. Principal among such subdivisions was the creation of a teen pregnancy prevention program that was supposed to focus primarily on how to eliminate cases of teen pregnancy within the US. The only legislative change that has since been introduced since the formation of TPPP in 2010 was the introduction of evidence-based practice in the prevention of teenage pregnancies (CDC, 2018). By instilling evidence-based practices in the operations of TPPP, Congress, through HHS aimed at addressing teen pregnancy issues through scientific inputs.
TPPP aims to serve teenagers. The focus of TPPP has been limited to analyzing the health paradigms among teenagers. Teenagers between 13-19 years are supposed to be accommodated in the program (HHS.gov, 2019). TPPP aims at executing its mandate by collecting information from individual stakeholders on teenage health (Strukel et al., 2016). Hence, being the primary stakeholders in the program, teenage girls play an integral role in defining the scope of TPPP activities.
TPPP is a government program that exercises its authority according to the mandates given to it by HHS. By extension, TPPP is an arm of the government whose primary focus is to scientifically manage the menace of teen pregnancies within the US (CDC, 2018). By virtue of being an extension of the government, TPPP is mandated to serve every teenager. That is, as long as one falls in the age bracket of 13 to 19 years, she is eligible to be accommodated by TPPP services (HHS.gov, 2019). Every American teenager is supposed to be accommodated in the program. Illegal immigrants or other aliens have not been accommodated in the TPPP services. However, young adults who are expecting babies are also eligible for TPPP service portfolios.
Nature of Benefits
TPPP is characterized by varying kinds of benefits. Primarily, OAH manages two direct grant programs that impact the activities of TPPP (HHS.gov, 2019). The primary grant program is geared towards the elimination of teenage pregnancy. OAH, hence, grants TPPP to identify the possible causes of teen pregnancies and manage those causes. TPPP collaborates with other agencies that advocate for the elimination of teen pregnancies. In 2010, $100 million was disbursed to subsidiary organizations that aided in the fight against teen pregnancies (HHS.gov, 2019). The auxiliary organizations were chosen both from private and public platforms. Besides the TPPP grants, TPPP also offers support to young adults who have babies or are expecting babies. Both programs are run concurrently and the beneficiaries can register with the OAH offices situated all over the country.
Besides the direct benefits, TPPP is also indulged in other activities that are likely to benefit its stakeholders. Primary among such activities include the pregnancy assistant fund, an appropriation of the Affordable Care Act, to tribal entities and states to provide expectant teenagers with the necessary resources that could help the beneficiaries to complete high school, gain access to healthcare services, family housing, and child care among other critical services (HHS.gov, 2019). TPPP also supports web-based resource centers that are meant to educate teenagers about pregnancies or how to partner with TPPP services. In the recent past, TPPP has extended its mandate to convene adolescent health working groups on top of communicating adolescent health data to the stakeholders.
TPPP services are administered through government channels. That is, the services are headquartered at HHS where they are delegated to states and into communities (HHS.gov, 2019). TPPP has offices within every state. All the resources are allocated depending on the needs of particular states (Neiterman, 2012). There are also tribal institutions that aid in managing teen pregnancies, whose participants are administered directly from OAH.
TPPP gets its finances from the congress budgetary allocations. Since its formation, TPPP has been receiving $101 million from the congress allocations (HHS.gov, 2019). That money is channeled down the value chain of TPPP. That is, states and tribal institutions normally get their allocations depending on the demands (CDC, 2018). That is, areas with higher rates of teen pregnancies or challenges are accorded higher priorities during the financial allocations.
Effectiveness and Critical Race Theory Analysis
TPPP has been effective in executing its mandate. As noted, teen pregnancies in the US have recorded consistent drops. In 2016-2017, the drops were 6% (CDC, 2018). More drops in pregnancy rates have been witnessed among different cultural groups. With fewer teenagers becoming vulnerable to teen pregnancies, it is agreeable that TPPP is effective. Also, education and grant programs initiated by TPPP are becoming more popular in communities, something that only indicates the efficiencies of the programs. On the basis of CRT analysis, heartbreaking to believe that a program as important as TPPP has attracted political interests. In 2017, President Trump implied the disbandment of the program. This happens when the program has achieved most of its intended outcomes.
To conclude, teen pregnancy is a devastating issue in the US and the rest of the world. More teenagers are rendered useless when they become pregnant. The initiation of TPPP has come as a blessing to such teenagers who need inputs. TPPP has instituted evidence-based approaches towards eliminating teen pregnancies in the US. While there are still concerns, it is agreeable that the efforts made by this program have led to a reduction in the number of teen pregnancies in the US. More efforts should be put to mobilize resources that could help these teenagers who need help.
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Teen Pregnancy Issue in the United States. (2021, Apr 12). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/teen-pregnancy-issue-in-the-united-states/
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