|(Pinellas Park, FL – October, 2012) Family Resources recently received a pregnancy prevention grant that will enable them to create a new Teen Outreach Program (TOP). This is exciting news for Family Resources as it makes it possible for a new much-needed program. The statistics for teen pregnancy are alarming. Pat Gerard, Chief Operating Officer of Family Resources stated “A study at the University of Chicago found that nearly half of girls who had spent time in the foster-care system had been pregnant at least once by the time they were 19 years old, and that close to 25% had experienced multiple pregnancies in their teens.”
Family Resources is used to dealing with the plight of youth homelessness. They have been providing counseling and intervention services for over 40 years. Their focus is on counseling and teaching the children in their care how to follow a path of success on their own and become self-sufficient so that they don’t have to enter state care. This grant and the new TOP will play an important role in that focus.
Gerard says “Youth in foster care are at high risk for pregnancy as they tend to take more risks sexually and engage in other risky behavior than the rest of the population and consequently become pregnant or, if male, impregnate someone at much higher rates than their peers living with birth families.”
Family Resources plans to initially operate the TOP at their own Youth Arts Corps and at other after-school and youth serving programs in Pinellas and Manatee Counties. The program, which uses the evidence-based model – the Wyman Teen Outreach Program – will be conducted over a period of 26 weeks, or sessions. The plan is to expand to alternative schools in both counties and other sites as soon as possible.
The target of this program are young women who are in foster care as well as at-risk girls in alternative schools and after-school programs, with the primary goal being to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and associated sexually risky behavior. Gerard goes on to add “The program will accomplish this by providing a multi-component, strengths-based, positive youth development oriented program that will focus not only on early sexual behavior and target risk and protective factors that are known to influence sexual activity. We are very fortunate to receive this grant and to make a difference in our community.”
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