Teenage Pregnancy:

500,000 Births a Year But Few Tested Programs

PEMD-86-16BR: Published: Jul 21, 1986. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO commented on: (1) the extent of teenage pregnancy; (2) programs in place to address teenage pregnancy; (3) the effectiveness of the programs; and (4) ways to make future legislation maximally effective.

GAO found that: (1) teenage pregnancy increased in the past decade for unmarried mothers under 18 years old; (2) only one program currently exists that focuses exclusively on the issue; (3) prevention-only projects had few effects on fertility or contraception; (4) post-pregnancy projects had short-term effects on repeat pregnancy, child health status, and the return to high school; and (5) previous programs lacked public support and client participation. GAO also found that, to be effective, future legislation should: (1) consist of media campaigns to improve programs' success; (2) target services to young, unmarried teenagers; (3) be flexible and provide for simple program structure; and (4) promote innovation and the dissemination of program information.

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