Fact Sheet: Building on our Historic Progress in Reducing Teen Births (8/12/00)
Saturday, August 12, 2000

Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will announce new
steps to promote second chance homes for teen parents as a way of building
on our dramatic success in reducing teen births.  The President will
highlight new data showing that teen birth rates have declined for eight
years in a row and are now at a record low.  Yet despite this historic
progress, nearly half a million babies are born to teenagers each year ?
and about 100,000 are repeat births.  To help more young people make
responsible choices and delay parenting until they are financially and
emotionally ready, the President will direct the Secretaries of Health and
Human Services and Housing and Urban Development to help community- and
faith-based organizations establish or expand second chance homes where
teen parents can get the support they need.  The President also will call
on Congress to join with him in providing funding for second chance homes.

Making Historic Progress in Reducing Teen Births. This week, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention released preliminary 1999 data
confirming that we continue to make impressive strides in addressing one of
the most important social problems facing our nation.  The birth rate for
15 to 19 year olds dropped three percent last year and 20 percent from the
most recent peak in 1991, and is now at the lowest level since tracking
began 60 years ago. This has had a dramatic impact: if teen birth rates had
remained at the 1991 level, 120,000 more babies would have been born to
teen parents last year.  These improvements are seen among younger and
older teens, married and unmarried teens, all states, and all racial and
ethnic groups.  The sharpest decline last year was a six percent drop in
the birth rate for American Indian teenagers.  And, since 1991, the African
American teen birth rate has decreased by 30 percent. At the same time, our
latest data show that teen pregnancy and abortion rates are also continuing
to fall.

Yet stronger efforts are needed, because teen parents and their children
face tremendous challenges. Nearly 80 percent of single teen mothers end up
on welfare and only one-third receive a high school diploma or GED, while
their children are at greater risk of low birth weight, abuse and neglect.
Down the line, their daughters are more likely to become teen moms
themselves and their sons are more likely to become involved in the
criminal justice system.

Taking Action to Create More Second Chance Homes.  President Clinton has
long supported second chance homes, an innovative approach to help teen
parents who cannot live at home.  These adult-supervised living
arrangements offer parenting skills, job counseling, education and other
referrals that help reduce repeat pregnancies and improve the prospects for
young mothers and their children, and many also involve young fathers in
parenting and employment activities.  Early evidence shows that teen
parents in second chance homes are less likely to have repeat pregnancies,
and more likely to immunize their children, complete high school, and
become self-sufficient. The welfare reform law, signed by the President in
1996, required unmarried minor parents to stay in school and live at home
or in a supervised setting in order to receive benefits; and encouraged
states to create supervised, supportive housing programs such as second
chance homes.

To continue these efforts to promote responsibility and self-sufficiency
among teen parents, the President will direct the Secretaries of HHS and
HUD to work together to help communities open second chance homes.  This
Executive Memorandum will make it easier for community- and faith-based
groups to access vacant or foreclosed property, provide a blueprint for
communities on how to create second chance homes, and provide a roadmap to
federal and state resources they can tap to get second chance homes up and
running.  This will help replicate this innovative model in more
communities across America.

Implementing a Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Teen Pregnancy. The
Clinton-Gore Administration has supported a variety of innovative and
promising teen pregnancy prevention strategies. The National Campaign to
Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a private nonprofit organization formed in response
to the President?s 1995 State of the Union challenge, has worked with all
sectors of society to share promising strategies and send the right message
to our teens.

This week, HHS transmitted to Congress the third annual report on the
National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, first announced by the
President in 1997.  This report highlights efforts to promote abstinence
and personal responsibility, provide more teens with mentors and access to
college or jobs, and develop local prevention strategies reaching out to
both girls and boys.  It also documents that at least a third of all
communities now have HHS-funded teen pregnancy prevention activities ?
exceeding the goal of 25 percent set in the 1996 welfare reform law ? and
describes strong partnerships with states, communities, families, religious
leaders, the media, and teens themselves that have contributed to the
historic progress we have achieved.

Building on a Strong Record of Promoting Opportunity and Responsibility.
Since taking office, the Clinton-Gore Administration has sent a clear
message to young women and young men alike: don?t get pregnant or father a
child until you are ready to take on the responsibility of parenthood.  At
the same time, the President and Vice President have worked hard to provide
positive alternatives for young people through education and training,
community service, after-school opportunities, and record job growth.
Today, fewer teens are becoming parents, teen unemployment is the lowest
since 1969, millions of parents have moved from welfare to work and child
support collections have reached a record of nearly $16 billion - double
the collections in 1992.

To build on our progress in promoting responsibility and breaking the cycle
of dependency, the President will urge Congress to work with him in a
bipartisan manner to take action on key budget initiatives: providing $25
million for "second chance homes;" ensuring that more child support goes to
families; and investing $255 million for the Fathers Work/Families Win
initiative to help 40,000 low-income fathers and 40,000 low-income families
work and support their children. Despite the clear bipartisan support for
second chance homes, Congress has yet to provide any funding.

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