ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The recent deaths of two infants of teen mothers in Albany shed light on the area's high teen pregnancy rate... but it isn't a new problem. Dougherty County's teen pregnancy rate is much higher than the rest of the state.
Teenagers here give birth at a rate of nearly 76 per 1,000. That's about 20 more than the state average.
Girls Inc. Works to change that through a curriculum that encourages girls to stay in school, off drugs and alcohol and away from sexual activity. Executive Director LaKisha Bryant says the program works. 98% of the girls involved graduate high school without becoming pregnant and go on to further their education and find successful jobs.
Bryant said, "If she becomes a teen mom, it's a lot harder to finish high school. It's harder to even go to college. It's harder to get that job and have to balance job and childcare and raising a child, so we're trying to get her to understand that as much as she can delay that, she is much more likely to reach the goals and have the life that she wants to have for herself."
Bryant says in addition to abstinence, girls are taught the importance of responsible social networking and not involving themselves in inappropriate text messaging with others.