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The Real Costs of Teen Motherhood

This program, presented as part of the Thursday's Child series of public policy forums sponsored by Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago and the Urban Institute, analyzed the complexities of enacting effective school-readiness policies and programs.

America's teen pregnancy rate is among the highest in the developed world, despite consistent declines over the past 15 years. Advances here might be ending, however: the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rate of teen childbearing increased 3 percent between 2005 and 2006, the first uptick since 1990. Today, three female teenagers out of every ten become pregnant at least once before they turn 20. Teen pregnancy rates are highest among those who are unmarried, and from families that are low-income, minority, and with lower levels of education.

Panelists will discuss the effects teen childbearing has on the life trajectories of the mother and child, the costs to government agencies aiding teens' children, and the increased risks these children face, including maltreatment, being placed into foster care, and incarceration. Private and public programs that reduce teen pregnancy, help teen mothers avoid bearing a second child, and change teen behavior will be explored.

Speakers include Sarah Brown, director, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy; Robert Goerge, research fellow, Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago; Saul Hoffman, professor and chair, Department of Economics, University of Delaware, and editor of Kids Having Kids: Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy; Pat Mosena, director, Illinois Subsequent Pregnancy Project, and president, Options for Youth; with moderator Matthew Stagner, executive director, Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago.

Recorded Thursday, October 23, 2008 at University of Chicago Gleacher Center.

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