Early Childhood Programs This Presentation Covers 2 Areas: • How early childhood programs relate to teen pregnancy prevention • Major findings from recent Campaign publication produced through PWWTW Teen Pregnancy in the United States Some good news… After increasing 23 percent between 1972 and 1990 (including 10 percent between 1987 and 1990), the teen pregnancy rate for girls aged 15-19 decreased 28 percent between 1990 and 2000 to a record low. 120 116.9 115 111.0 110 105 106.7 100 99.6 95 90 85 83.6 80 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 Henshaw, S. (2003). U.S. teenage pregnancy statistics with comparative statistics for women aged 20-24. New York: The Alan Guttmacher Institute. More Good News… • Teen pregnancy and birth rates are down. • Decreasing percentage of teens who have ever had sex (14%). • Decreasing percentage of teens with four or more partners (23%). • Increasing condom use (36%). Note: changes over 1991-2003 from the YRBS, high school students in grades 9-12. Some Bad News… The U.S. still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. 34% of Girls Get Pregnant at Least Once Before the Age of 20 Pregnant Not Pregnant Source: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Fact Sheet “How is the 34% Statistic is Calculated,” February 2004. This translates into: • About 850,000 pregnancies to teens per year in the US. • Almost 100 teen girls get pregnant each hour. Early Childhood Programs MAJOR FINDINGS 9 Information from PWWTW Issue Brief • Science Says: “Early Childhood Education Programs” • Developed by Child Trends and the National Campaign. • Based on three longitudinal studies. What Do Early Childhood Programs Have to Do with Teen Pregnancy? • Research suggests that children’s experience in programs long before adolescence may contribute to a reduced likelihood that they will become parents during their teen years. What the Research Shows • Longitudinal studies have: – linked early, high-quality preschool education to higher educational achievement; – shown that school performance, attendance, and attitudes in early childhood can predict high school completion; – indicate that positive educational performance and expectations can help reduce risky sexual behavior. What Program Studies Show • Three programs have shown success • Two experimentally evaluated: – Abecedarian Project – High/Scope Perry Preschool Program • One quasi-experimental design: – Seattle Social Development Abecedarian Project • North Carolina (1972-1977), high risk children, nearly all African-American • Goal was to produce long-term benefits, such as improved academic performance, economic self-sufficiency, and social adjustment • From infancy through first three years of elementary school, year round, 6-8 hrs per day, weekday childcare with a pre- school curriculum • At each age, emphasis on adult-child and parent-child interaction • Each teacher made an average of 15 visits to students’ homes each year Abecedarian Project Findings • Experimental Evaluation found that: – program participants were less likely than the control group to have become teen parents (26% vs. 45%); – of those who were parents, program participants were older when their first child was born than those in the control group (19.1 years old vs. 17.7 years old). High/Scope Perry Preschool Program • Michigan (1962-1965), low income African American children, ages three and four • Designed to improved kids’ short and long-term outcomes, such as increasing academic performance, increasing educational attainment, and reducing involvement with crime • Two years, class every weekday morning, weekly home visits by teachers, monthly group meetings with children’s parents High/Scope Perry Preschool Program Findings • Experimental Evaluation found that: – Program participants were less likely than the control group to have had a birth outside of marriage (57% vs. 83%); – Program participants were also more likely to be married at 27 than the control group (40% vs. 8%). Seattle Social Development • Washington State (1981-1987), eight public schools, 47% White, 26% African-American, 21% Asian, 7% other, • At least one semester in 1st – 4th and one in 5th or 6th • Designed to help children avoid risky behavior by increasing their attachment to school and family • Classroom based program with three components: teacher training, parent training, child social and emotional development • Provided opportunities for child and family involvement in school. Seattle Social Development Findings • Quasi-experimental design found that: – Participants were less likely than comparison group to have had sex by age 18 (72% vs. 82%); – At 21, participants were more likely than comparison to report using a condom the last time they had sex (60% vs. 44%); – Female participants were less likely to have ever been pregnant (38% vs. 56%); – Female participants were less likely to report having given birth (23% vs. 40%). Early Childhood Programs IMPLICATIONS 20 What It All Means • Better an hour too early than a minute too late. – Appears to be a connection between participating in early childhood programs, performing better in school, and having a more positive outlook for the future. – Collectively, these factors motivate teens to avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood. What It All Means • Beyond the usual suspects. – Professionals working with young children and those working with teens may have more of a shared mission than they realized. – Early childhood and teen pregnancy prevention leaders should look for opportunities to collaborate and support one another’s efforts. What It All Means • It’s not always about sex. – For communities fighting over the best approach to preventing teen pregnancy, early childhood interventions may offer a long-term and less controversial approach. – Programs should not replace sex ed programs for older youth, but be an early investment towards the future. What It All Means • Using What Works. – There is value in using programs with proven track records. – Preschool programs should offer developmentally appropriate activities and parental education in addition to employing well-trained, educated staff. A Final Note • Although the evaluation findings from these programs are encouraging, there is still much research to be done. • Must recognize potential limitations of adaptability of programs in addition to their strengths. Thank You! For more information: Visit www.teenpregnancy.org Putting What Works to Work (PWWTW) PWWTW: What? • Cooperative Agreement funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). • Goal: Enhance the ability of state and local organizations to incorporate science-based approaches into their teen pregnancy prevention efforts. PWWTW: How? • Produce high-quality, research-based, user- friendly materials. • Use these materials to encourage states, communities, and national organizations to incorporate research-based practices into their work. • Go beyond the “usual suspects” and reach out to media executives, state legislators, funders and other opinion leaders.
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