LAST MONTH, NEWS about teens becoming mothers made headlines - the number of teen pregnancies in the United States dropped to a record low for the US. According to a CDC report, teen birth rates for 15 to 17 year olds fell 12% from 2009 to 2010; birth rates for 18 and 19 year olds dropped 9 %, though rates in the US are still significantly higher than in other industrialized countries.
In Alaska, teen birth rates have been on the decline since the early 1990's, dropping by 42% for younger moms, and 24% for older moms over a 15 year period. Older teens have almost four times as many children as younger teens, and Alaska Native teens have children at about 2.5 times the rate of non-Natives.
For many of those younger teens who become pregnant, finishing high school is the biggest challenge. In Anchorage, some of them attend Crossroads - a high school just for pregnant and parenting teens. Some of them are also enrolled in Kids Corps Early Head Start program. The program has an in-home program that offers child development information, developmental screening - and just general support to those young moms.
KTD contributor Jessica Cochran spoke to the woman who does those home visits -- Tundra Paulson.
Links from this story: Alaska Teen Pregnancy Fact Sheet