Teen pregnancy in Shelby County decreasing - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Teen pregnancy in Shelby County decreasing

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Catherine Joyce's team at The Urban Child Institute released new teen pregnancy findings in July. Catherine Joyce's team at The Urban Child Institute released new teen pregnancy findings in July.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - After years of being on the rise, teen pregnancy in Shelby County is declining.

A new report from the Urban Child Institute shows teen pregnancy is declining more rapidly in Shelby County than the national average.

"I was a teen mom. I say it's hard out here and nobody's going to help you but your parents, and we're struggling ourselves," said a former teen mom, Kalisa Williams.

Williams already had the talk with her daughter, Karlisha, who turns 13 in November.

"People don't need to have babies, if they're babies," said Karlisha.

Catherine Joyce's team at The Urban Child Institute released new teen pregnancy findings in July.

"We're beginning to see that trend declining because of the community effort," said Joyce.

Since 2008, teen pregnancies in Shelby County dropped 22.5 percent. With a 19 percent drop in Tennessee and a 17 percent drop across America, the institute and the community say there are several reasons why.

"We attribute that to a later date of sexual debut and more utilization and access to contraception," said Joyce.

Kalisa and her daughter live in Frayser, the Memphis community that gained national attention after media reports of 90 pregnant students at Frayser High.

Joyce says those findings were flawed.

"Frayser High School was actually trying to do something very important, which is keep pregnant and parenting teens in school," she said.

Students from all over Memphis were part of that program. But Joyce says a lot of work still needs to be done.

"We're still higher than the national level. We're still higher than the state," she said.

Meanwhile, Karlisha says her goal is to become part of the new trend.

"Don't have a baby until you get out of school, get the education, a job, a home," she said.

The Urban Trial Institute says their research shows that the most important mission for teens who do become pregnant is to earn a diploma.

Click here for the full report from the Urban Child Institute here.

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