Research and Writing ENG 215
February 2, 2011
Teen pregnancy may or may not be as high as it was a few years ago but it still affects the nation, and in a negative way. Whenever a teen does get pregnant and does not have the support of her family, friends, and/ or the support of her baby’s father she would need to get help from some type of government program. Some teen mothers also do not graduate from high school causing the national graduation rates to decline. And also, although not factually proven, children of single parent households tend to go into a life of crime. This writer’s recommendations are to limit the amount of governmental support a person gets so that the system is not abused, have more schools that specializes in helping pregnant teens graduate from high school, and to put more programs in the schools and neighborhoods to help at-risk children and to help them stay on the right track.
Teen pregnancy rates did decline between the years of 1990 to 2005, but since 2006 pregnancy rates have begun to rise again (Childs Trends Databank, 2009); With the United States right at the top of the list. Forming pregnancy pacts as shown in the Lifetime original movie The Pregnancy Pact and with shows like 16 & pregnant and Teen Mom seemingly glamorizing becoming a young mother it’s no wonder. But how does it really affect the nation? Well it affects the nation in more way than most people seem to really realize. One way that it affects the nation is that most of these young mothers will need governmental assistance. Meaning that they will go on welfare, get food stamps, go on housing, etc. to help support themselves and their child; and all this support is at the taxpayers’ expense. Another effect on the nation is the declining graduation rates. In 2002 only 10 percent of teen mothers, ages of 15 to 17, graduated from high school (Joanne Brosh, 2007). And lastly, although not proven by any real facts, children of single parent households tend to go into a life of crime, especially if that child has a brother or sister and their parent works more than one job. They look for the love they feel is lacking or missing at home and this “love” is usually found in the neighborhood gang. Nearly half of all teen mothers receive welfare within five years of becoming parents (G. Acs, and H. L. Koball, 2003), and with about a million teenaged girls becoming pregnant each year that’s about half a million teen mothers at a given time period receiving welfare at the taxpayers’ expense. Because welfare wages aren’t enough on its own to help a struggling young mother support herself and that of her child, most tend to be on welfare for the remainder of their lives. In the article TANF and the Status of Teen mothers under Age 18, authors G. Acs and H. L. Koball (2003) wrote: Consequently, 1996’s federal welfare reform contains provisions aimed to specially at teen parents and would-be parents with the goals of reducing teen childbearing and preventing teen parents from becoming dependent on welfare. Specifically, to be eligible to receive federal cash aid under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, a minor parent has to live with a responsible adult (generally her parents) and participate in school or training. Advocates of these provisions believe that by making it harder for teen parents to receive welfare, teen pregnancies would be reduced and would gradually keep declining. Which seemed to be working until 2006 when teen pregnancy rates started to increase, so one has to wonder are the provisions to receive welfare not strict enough? This writer believes that they aren’t. Every day the welfare program and other programs designed to help teen parents and those who really need it, gets abused. So for every one of those teen parents who receive welfare assistance and meet the provisions to do...