Teen pregnancies cost Iowa millions of dollars each year. A new study released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found the state pays out at least $85 million a year in costs associated with teen births. That money goes towards a variety of things including public health care and child welfare. The study also found that children of teen parents have higher rates of incarceration and often have lower earning jobs, which means they pay less into taxes.
There is some good news in this study too. Iowa’s teen birth rate is at an all time low. In 2011, 2,665 teens gave birth in Iowa. That’s down 43 percent from 20 years ago. If not for that decline, the study estimates Iowa would be paying an additional $58 million.
The director of Young Parents Network, says great progress has been made in decreasing teen pregnancy as a result of education and increased access to contraceptives. He believes men can play a key role in further lowering those numbers.
I think the more dads we have involved the better we are. They influence our female youth and male youth on making healthy lifestyle choices, said Brian Stutzman, YPN Executive Director.
Young Parents Network educates teens in an effort to prevent teen pregnancy. One way they do that is by sending teen moms to talk to other teens about the struggles they’ve faced.