TERRELL CO., GA (WALB) - Dozens of teen pregnancy prevention programs across the country are in jeopardy of losing millions of dollars in funding. It comes after a decision by President Trump's administration to end a five-year grant that fuels many of the programs.
The federal grant program was created under the Obama administration. Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Trump administration made the decision to cut the grants two years early. It slices more than $200 million dollars in funding to TPP programs across the country.
Quest for Change, a non-profit organization in Terrell County, credits their program, Success for Life, for lowering teen birth rates in several southwest Georgia counties.
Director Shaune Motley said several southwest Georgia counties, including Terrell, Calhoun, and Randolph counties, have seen some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. She said rates have declined by as much as 20 percent since the program has been in place.
Motley said the program will lose nearly 90 percent of its total budget without the grant.
They're now looking at ways to move forward and continue offering their services.
"Grants are really seed money," Motley said. "So it was never our focus to be totally reliant on that. So we've always had plans to diversify and to mobilize the community, but it's unfair because it's going to be cut short and we need to finish what we started."
Teens and development specialists said the program offers hard-to-find resources.
"The teen pregnancy rate is high so I think that if they know like the information that we have then it would give them a chance to make better choices for themselves," said Malaysia Jones, a Terrell High School student.
"It's not a whole lot of other services that they have, so we're providing a very needed service and if it's gone I'm not sure where the kids are going to go to to get that service, so it's very needed," said Jason Tolbert, youth and family development specialist.
Before receiving the grant, Quest for Change was able to provide an abstinence-only program through funding by the Department of Family and Children Services. The grant allowed them to bring trained professionals on board to provide comprehensive sexual education to teens.
Motley said they are looking at professionally training community-based and faith-based leaders.
For more information on Quest for Change, click here.
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