Is teen pregnancy really a problem in Connecticut?
Yes, in fact it is. In some parts of Connecticut, adolescent childbearing is a very significant problem compared to the state overall. Certain communities consistently differ from the statewide average of all births to Connecticut mothers that occur when the mother is still a teenager. In fact, data analyzed by the Family Planning Program in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UConn Health indicate that in some communities, the proportion of all births to teen mothers is double that of the statewide average. Read more about the numbers.
What is being done to prevent teen pregnancy in Connecticut?
The Connecticut Department of Social Services supports a statewide Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. The Initiative uses a two-pronged approach to prevent teen pregnancy around the state. Two different evidence-based models receive support from DSS to target communities which demonstrate the greatest need for teen pregnancy prevention. Need is based on patterns of adolescent childbearing across all towns in Connecticut. The two evidence-based models supported by DSS include the Comprehensive Children's Aid Society Model and the Wyman Teen Outreach Program.
How does each evidence-based model work?
The Comprehensive Children's Aid Society Model was developed in the 1980s at the Children’s Aid Society (Harlem, New York) by Dr. Michael Carrera. This comprehensive, holistic, intensive, long-term approach to teen pregnancy prevention serves boys and girls from high-risk neighborhoods, ages 11 to 18. Starting at about age 11, kids who are at risk for becoming teen parents are referred to the program. These 6th graders come five days a week after school to a program that offers them Academic Support, Career Development, Outreach and Case Management, Family Life and Sex Education and Lifetime Sports and Recreation. Young people enrolled in the program continue to come to the program every day after school, and even during the summer and school vacations, right up until they graduate from high school. Read more about how this model works and where in Connecticut the model is used.
The Wyman Teen Outreach Program was developed as a school-based program that involves young people in volunteer activities in their communities. The volunteer work is linked to a classroom curriculum that touches on a variety of topics ranging from family conflict to human growth and development. This blend of activities allows students to become “help givers” as opposed to “help receivers.” Read more about how this model works and where in Connecticut the model is used.
Where is the Comprehensive Children's Aid Society/Carrera model being used in Connecticut?
Right now, two communities in Connecticut, New Britain and Waterbury, are supported by the DSS to use the Comprehensive Children's Aid Society/Carrera Model to prevent teen pregnancy. Contact information for the agencies running these programs can be found on our prevention models page.
Where is the Wyman Teen Outreach Program (TOP) being used in Connecticut?
Right now, twelve communities around Connecticut are supported by DSS to use the Wyman Teen Outreach Program to prevent teen pregnancy. These communities include Bridgeport, East Hartford, Hartford, Killingly, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Norwich, Torrington West Haven, and Windham. Contact information for the agencies running these programs can be found on our prevention models page.
Is there any evaluation being done to ensure that communities are following the prevention models correctly?
Yes. DSS closely monitors both the Comprehensive Children’s Aid Society/Carrera Model programs and the Wyman Teen Outreach Programs to ensure that each program maintains fidelity to the model. Furthermore, the DSS also maintains consulting relationships with Michael Carrera and the Wyman group to ensure that all programs funded by DSS maintain high standards of compliance with program standards.
Is there any evaluation being done to see if the programs actually have an impact on the young people enrolled in the programs?
Yes. An independent evaluator monitors the progress of each of the programs around Connecticut communities which are receiving funds from the DSS to prevent teen pregnancy. The independent evaluator tracks risk indicators, reported pregnancies and also looks at participant’s satisfaction with their experience in the programs.