State initiative seeks to cut Nevada’s teen pregnancy rate by a third
The State Human Resources and Education departments are joining in an
effort to cut Nevada’s teen pregnancy rate a third by 2005.
Human Resources Director Charlotte Crawford said this is the second
action plan targeting teen pregnancy. The 1996 plan was designed to cut
the rate from 63 per 1,000 teens to 50 by 2000. She said the state Office
of Vital Records says the 1998 rate made that goal, dropping to 48
pregnancies per 1,000.
But she said officials are concerned that Nevada continues to have the
nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate. She said the goal for the new
program is to cut the rate to no more than 35 per 1,000 adolescent
In a recent report, state officials have pledged to continue the effort
to prevent teen pregnancy.
“This goal will be accomplished through efforts conducted at multiple
levels — state, county and community — with the assistance of youth,”
said Heidi Sakelarios, department spokeswoman.
She added that developing a support network for youth is part of a
five-year plan to “get in touch with what the kids are like in the
community.” She adds that that community could be anywhere in the state.
“Additionally, the family must get involved and get the parents to talk
to their kids, and talking with their kids about sexuality,” she said.
At the time of the report, Nevada’s rates had decreased, but still remain
high. During 1998, 42 percent of young women, 15-17 years of age, who
became pregnant were white; 32 percent were Hispanic; and 13 percent were black. Native Americans accounted for 2 percent, while Asians accounted for 3 percent.
In the same report, in Carson City there were 155 teen pregnancies
reported among girls 15-19. Douglas reported 55 in the same category;
Lyon showed 114 pregnancies; and Storey reported four pregnancies.
Statewide rates showed 4,717 pregnancies in girls 15-19 years of age.
The governor’s youth council was started in 1996, and helped get ideas
from the teenagers.
“They’ve been a help and a tremendous resource,” Sakelarios said. “They’ve
given us feedback on the radio and television spots that have been
Sakelarios said that there has been a lot of momentum nationally to get
the rates down. Some of that includes funding.
That momentum now needs to be transferred to the local level.
“Community members can be involved in it without ever talking about teen
pregnancy,” she said. “They can have some impact in their community by
just getting involved in the teen’s lifestyle or life.
“Get involved in dances, drunken driving and anti-drug campaigns or just
involved in the community,” she said.