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Group worried about increase in teen pregnancy

Study finds county higher than state average, lower than Hall

POSTED: December 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.

While some people may feel like it takes the proverbial village to raise a child, others feel as if it takes that same village to ensure that child doesn’t end up with a baby of their own.

After learning about the high teen pregnancy rate in Jackson County, a group of concerned citizens came together to form the Jackson County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition.

"The group formed out of the (Jackson County) Family Connection Council. They were doing their three-year strategic plan and found out that Jackson had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in their public health district," said Maia Jackson, a member of the coalition. "Besides members from the family connection council, the prevention coalition also includes members from the Jackson County Health Department and representatives from the faith community."

The goal of the coalition is to bring various members of the community together to brainstorm on ways to decrease the county’s current teen pregnancy rate.

According to reports from the public health division of the Georgia Department of Human Resources, there are 57.1 births for every 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 to 19 in Jackson County.

Comparatively, the number of teenage births for that age group in Jackson County is slightly higher than the state average, but still lower than the figure for Hall County.

The teen birth rate for Georgia is 54.1 births for every 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 to 19, while the statistic in Hall County is 69.5 births for every 1,000 girls in that same age bracket.

The Jackson County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition has been holding monthly meetings and educating the community on the teen pregnancy issue for a little more than a year.

"We’ve been out in the community building alliances and giving out information as far as statistics are concerned," Jackson said. "We’ve been out informing community members and bringing awareness to the fact that there is an issue that needs to be addressed."

While the group has a diverse member pool, Jackson says the coalition would like to see more parents getting involved.

"We are encouraging parents to come out and give their input, we really want them to be involved in addressing this issue," Jackson said.

Diversity is key when working to deal with a complex issue like teen pregnancy rates, which can be affected by many different factors.

"We understand that there isn’t going to be just one solution to this problem," Jackson said. "Maybe teaching abstinence would work if its taught by the faith community and maybe we have another group teach another piece of the puzzle- whatever the solution is, we understand that it has to be a multi-pronged approach."



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