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South Carolinians Collaborate to Keep State's Teen Birth Rate Down

Monday, April 23, 2012

In South Carolina, the teen birth rate has hit an all-time low, dropping by more than a quarter in the past 10 years. State officials and teen pregnancy prevention advocates credit the decline to South Carolina’s strong focus on collaboration, led by the nonprofit South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

“They’re kind of the hub,” says Martha Hinson, who coordinates statewide adolescent health initiatives for South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control and oversees the state’s Personal Responsibility Education Program, a teen pregnancy prevention effort funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau. “They’re so inclusive in pulling everyone in that might have an interest in working with teen pregnancy prevention.”

The campaign has brought together youth-serving organizations, state leaders and academic institutions, including the University of South Carolina, says Lucy Gibson, who directs the Division of Women and Children’s Services in the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Together, the partners are finding ways to avoid duplicating services and to measure their collective impact. They are also creating a statewide teen pregnancy prevention plan that outlines what each agency or organization can do.

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