Teen pregnancy agency to be fully funded again

Shutdown forced one layoff, and reimbursements still behind
Dec. 10, 2013 @ 08:08 AM

A group that focuses on reducing teen pregnancies has been told it will receive money that was jeopardized by the federal government shutdown in October, but reimbursements are still running two months behind.

The Caldwell Council on Adolescent Health was told in October it would not receive federal grants for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, a $50,000 grant, and a new program called Adolescent Parenting Program, which costs $75,000. The council's budget for fiscal 2013-14, $163,000, relied on the $75,000 grant, so the prospect of not receiving it the funds put the agency in a crisis. A staffer who had been hired to run the Adolescent Parenting Program was let go.

Angie Ashley, agency director, said Monday that the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services will restore all funding, so both programs are fully operational. The staffer who was let go was rehired.

In 1983, when the agency was established, Caldwell County's teen pregnancy rate was fourth-highest among all 100 counties in the state. By 2012, the ranking had fallen to 34th, with 34 pregnancies reported among 15- to 17-year olds and 91 among teens ages 18-19.

"This shows the collaboration with other agencies, parents, and our ability to provide evidence-based curriculum is working," Ashley said. "We are hoping to see even greater improvement."