Landmark Report on Public Costs of Teen Pregnancy Released
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy recently released a new study, By The Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing, which presents the first analysis since 1996 of the cost to taxpayers of teen childbearing. The analysis, written by Professor Saul Hoffman of the University of Delaware, provides the first-ever estimates of the cost of teen childbearing in each state and Washington, DC. Of particular interest to the child welfare system, the new report documents public sector costs associated with the children of teen mothers by cost category, including child welfare costs.
Significantly, the study finds that most of the public sector costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers. Specifically, in 2004, teen childbearing resulted in a $2.3 billion increase in child welfare costs. Overall, the report found the total costs to taxpayers--federal, state, and local--of teen childbearing in the United States in 2004 alone was $9.1 billion.
Policy recommendations in the report included helping provide parents with information about the critical role they play in helping their children make good decisions, supporting proven teen pregnancy interventions, and increased support for youth programs more broadly. CWLA would note the special considerations which need to be given to youth in foster care in strategies to prevent teen pregnancy.
The report is available on the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy website.
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