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Teen pregnancy rate down in Milwaukee


MILWAUKEE (WSAU) Fewer kids are having kids in Milwaukee for the second year in a row.

City officials said almost 36 of every 1,000-teenagers had babies last year. That’s 5.6-less than in 2009 – when a similar drop was reported.

The teen birth rate was as high as 52-per-thousand in 2006, and it brought Milwaukee some unwanted national attention.

Three years ago, the city and its United Way joined forces to attack the problem. And now, they’re getting closer to achieving their goal of dropping Milwaukee’s teen birth rate to about the same level as the statewide figure of around 30-per-thousand by 2015. City health director Bevan Baker says more girls will be in a better position to succeed, because they won’t have the burden of being teen moms.

The United Way’s Nicole Angresano says cutting the teen birth rate is a major step toward eliminating poverty – and it’s a huge challenge because children born to teenage moms are more likely to be teen parents themselves. The United Way has pumped almost four-million dollars into teen pregnancy prevention efforts since 2004. They’ve targeted kids as young as fourth grade who will turn 17 by 2015. Milwaukee’s public schools have improved their human development curriculum. And young people have seen public service ad campaigns that feature boys with swollen bellies, and movie previews about what happens when a teen gets pregnant. Angresano says officials are pleased with the progress, but there’s still a long way to go.