CDPH Announces Restoration of Funding to Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

On Wednesday the Chicago Department of Public Health announced that President Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been forced to restore $2 million in federal funding to Chicago’s Teen Pregnancy Program as a result of a class-action lawsuit joined by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and 62 other organizations. This funding was abruptly cut by HHS, eliminating funding for the five-year program after only three years; restoration of the funding will help Chicago to continue making historic strides in reducing teen births. “Chicago has achieved historic low teen births and after nine consecutive years of decline, continues to see a downward trajectory,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “Restoring this funding is the right thing to do. As a data driven organization we need to evaluate prevention programs or risk reversing the historic gains our young people have made. We are pleased by this decision and will continue to ensure that every teen in Chicago has access to the resources they need to decide if or when to become a parent.”

Chicago has made historic strides in reducing teen births; the teen birth rate has declined for nine consecutive years. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 27.5 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years old. This represents nearly a 68 percent drop from the 85.2 rate in 1999. Restoration of this funding allows CDPH to continue to evaluate these critical prevention programs. Early promising results of Chicago’s teen pregnancy prevention initiative include increases in youth knowledge and access to health care services. Since Planned Parenthood of Illinois began providing services on behalf of CDPH via a competitive bid process in March 2015, Chicago Healthy Adolescents and Teens (CHAT), Chicago’s on-site sexual health education and STI screen program, has provided sexual health education to more than 47,000 youth and sexually transmitted infection screening services to over 25,000 youth in CPS and charter high schools, local colleges, and youth-serving community-based organizations across the city. “Planned Parenthood is hopeful that with this funding continuation, we’ll be able to extend the benefits of this data-driven work to more Chicago youth,” said Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

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