Teen birth rates must be addressed – soon

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 10, 2001

Thursday, May 10, 2001

Concordia Parish earned a frightening distinction Tuesday

as state health statistics show the parish leads the state of

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Louisiana in teen birth rates.

Nearly 32 percent of all children born in Concordia Parish

are born to teen mothers.

It’s a staggering figure. And one that needs direct attention.

In less than the time most folks spend on their lunch break,

statistically a child is born in Louisiana to a teen mother. That’s

right, every 43 minutes another teen becomes a mother.

Unfortunately it’s not just in Concordia Parish where teen

births are on the increase. Catahoula Parish’s rate is at 31 percent.

We suspect surrounding parishes and counties in Mississippi also

have alarmingly high teen birth rates.

So what’s the answer?

Lots of federal, state and local programs preach everything

from &uot;safe&uot; sex to abstinence.

And we suspect each of the programs has some positive effect,

the big picture is still an ugly one.

While we support the work of all of the agencies, more work

is needed.

The solution to teen birth rates must begin at home. Parents

must become involved in their children’s lives, and they must

teach the consequences of flagrant behavior.

One can place blame on the television and film industry and

lots of other places, but the ultimate responsibility for a child’s

behavior lies with the parents.

Some how, some way, our community must figure out a way to

drive the importance of this message home – not only to the teens,

but also to their parents.

If we don’t, we’ll all regret it in the future.