Teen pregnancy down by 71 percent in Beaufort County

Teen pregnancy down by 71 percent in Beaufort County

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The teen pregnancy rate in Beaufort County has seen a huge decline in the last 20 years.

Beaufort County has seen a significant drop in its teen birth rates, decreasing by more than 71 percent since 1991. And even though more resources are available for expecting young mothers, the foundation in preventing teen pregnancy is education.

"We know that having the educational piece put in place providing accurate information as it relates to reproductive health and sexuality. So having that accurate information in place for our students was instrumental in those numbers plummeting," said Shelia Wiley, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coordinator, Beaufort County.

According to the South Carolina Prevent Teen Pregnancy Campaign, those numbers dropped from almost 60 births per 1,000 teens to 28.

The county has two programs that are targeted at two different age groups, middle schoolers and high schoolers.

"For middle school, it's the 'it's your game, keep it real.' For our 9th graders, 'Is safer choices'. The programs are designed to delay the initiation of sex to reinforce the family values that are put in place for our students to detect and select to know what their values are before they are faced with challenges," said Wiley.

The courses are mandated by the state and paired with physical education, however parents can opt out if they do not wish for their child to participate.

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