A NOTE FROM OUR CEO, FORREST ALTON
As we worked to prepare our 2015 Annual Report, the challenges and tragedies our state faced in 2015 continue to weigh heavy on our hearts and minds. We couldn’t be more proud of our state’s leadership who, through it all, showed the world what it means to be “South Carolina Strong.” In turn, we can only hope that you – our donors, partners, and friends – will continue to be proud of the accomplishments of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign). We also hope that you will continue to recognize the important connection an investment in preventing teen pregnancy has to increasing graduation rates, improving health outcomes, and decreasing poverty. While conversations surrounding infrastructure, education funding, and the economy will dominate the headlines in 2016, let us not forget that the issue of children having children has a direct impact on all of these things.
Just a few months ago the SC Campaign announced that the state’s teen birth rate has dropped 61% since the early 90’s. This decline represents a 20-year trend line that has occurred across all races, all age groups, and in each of the state’s 46 counties. It is certainly appropriate to celebrate such remarkable progress, but recognize there is still work to do. In 2014, 4,297 teens (15-19) in South Carolina became mothers; South Carolina still has the 13th highest teen birth rate in the nation; and our state’s tax payers absorbed a $166 million price tag as the result of children having children. We have shown over the last two decades that South Carolina is capable of making significant progress on this issue, but none of us should mistakenly believe we have it solved.
As you will see throughout this Annual Report, the SC Campaign continues to work diligently at the state and local level to increase both the quantity and quality of programs and services available to young people and their families. To this end, we released a new strategic plan in 2015 focusing on an approach that we feel will help propel us to even further success reducing teen pregnancy in our state (see p. 4), have increased our focus on priority populations and regions of the state, and have secured new long-term funding commitments from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health, The Duke Endowment, and the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation.
As the only organization in South Carolina that works statewide solely on the issue of preventing teen pregnancy, our work would not be possible if not for your continued support. We hope you will continue to see the needs of young people as a priority worthy of investing in!
2015 Annual Report