Teen Birth Rate Increase

Reported by Alex Batres

A new study shows a significant increase in the number of teen birth rates in the state of Wyoming.  Natrona County has the second highest birth rate in the state.

The recent teen birth rate study was conducted by the Wyoming Children's Action Alliance and shows the overall birth rate in the state of Wyoming increased by seven percent. Healthcare providers believe the increase could be attributed to a number of factors.

"I don't think there is a comprehensive sex education program in our schools and teens get a lot of information from each other and it's not real accurate information", said Tia Hansuld, Director of the Disease Prevention Clinic at the Natrona County Health Department.

When Anna Elseroad found out she was pregnant, the reality of being a young teen mom set in as she faced a difficult road ahead.

"You don't think it's going to be that hard but then you start thinking about the diapers and formulas and now that I'm further along it's hitting me, like how am I going to do this because I have haven't finished college, it's scary", said Elseroad.

Local outreach pregnancy and prevention programs aim to educate youth and prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

"We can provide them with education about how to prevent a sexual transmitted disease and we can also provide them with birth control information", said Jessica Snyder, Health Center Manager at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Other organizations like the Wyoming Children's Society offer supportive programs for teen moms on an individual basis as well as a group setting.

"I like coming here because its not only helped me prepare for it but its also someone I can talk to besides a family member", said Elseroad.

Elseroad receives counseling on life skills such as financial management and family planning.

"When they come for the pregnancy and prevention program we work with them to build an individual strength based life plan to build life skills", said Jessica Dodson, Outreach Coordinator for Natrona County.

Elseroad plans to finish her college studies and hopes other teen girls make a wise decision when it comes to having sex.

"Use protection don't grow up so fast because there are those times that I want to do teenager things but I can't because I have responsibilities", said Elseroad.

Wyoming Children's Society:www.wyomingcs.org

Planned Parenthood:www.plannedparenthood.org/rocky-mountains

Natrona County Health Department:www.casperhealth.com