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Iowa community coalition aims to reduce teen pregnancy rates

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MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — A coalition of entities serving youth and families in Marshall and Hardin counties has been meeting in response to 2012 public health data indicating that both counties bear some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Iowa.

The Times Republican ( ) reports that the Team Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention coalition plans several public events beginning May 6 to increase community awareness of the issue, and provide sexual health education to adolescents.

Spearheaded by Jana Enfield, the executive director of Child Abuse Prevention Services in Marshalltown, the coalition began meeting in January. Enfield said the group brings together public and human service organizations that sometimes duplicate efforts to prevent teen pregnancy.

"What this leadership team does is bring all those together under one roof," Enfield said.

The group stated their goal is to drive down teen pregnancy numbers by increasing adolescents' awareness of their sexuality and encourage healthy lifestyles. Coalition leaders are currently developing education material for distribution, and identifying locations where teens can get access to contraceptives.

"If a teen chooses to become sexually active, then we want to help them make sure that they are safe," Enfield said.

According to the 2012 data released by the Child and Family Police Center, Marshall County ranked first in the state for teen pregnancies, with 55 births per 1,000 females age 15-19 years old. In Hardin County, the birth rate was 30.4 births per 1,000 females age 15-19.


Information from: Times-Republican,

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