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Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Foster Care

Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Foster Care

By Megan Comlossy | Vol . 21, No. 42 / November 2013

NCSL News

In 2012, teen pregnancy and birth rates reached historic lows in the United States, yet they remain among the highest in the industrialized world. At particular risk are youth in foster care. By the time they turn 19, nearly half of young women in foster care have been pregnant, compared to 27 percent of 19-year-olds overall. By age 21, half of young men in foster care report having impregnated someone, compared to 19 percent of their peers not in the system.

Pregnancy among foster youth creates challenges for the state systems responsible for them, young people themselves, and their children. Foster care systems must house and support teen parents and their children. For the 20,000 youth who “age out” of foster care each year, pregnancy and parenthood can compound the already difficult process of finding housing, a job or continuing education.

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