Preventing Teen Pregnancy,
Promoting Healthy Youth
Though high teen birth rates persist in Oklahoma, communities are leading the charge to change those numbers!
In recent years, Oklahoma has had the second highest (worst) teen birth rate in the nation for 15-19 year-olds. Oklahoma’s rate for younger teens (aged 15-17) improved during those years, however, thanks to community-school partnerships and federal funding that has supported evidence-based programs in areas where rates are the highest.
Oklahoma’s annual teen birth numbers and rates decreased by about 45% in the decade between 2007 and 2016. Yet, it remains among a handful of states with the highest teen birth rates in the nation. Bottom line: while other states have made prevention a priority by investing in educational programs and access to health services that really work with teens, no state funds have been provided for those programs in Oklahoma for well over a decade.
The good news in Oklahoma is at the community level where evidence-based prevention programs and health services are being provided, thanks to funding from federal initiatives, foundations, tribes and local sources. Those efforts have been the catalyst behind Oklahoma’s success over the past 10 years.
Effective, community-wide teen pregnancy prevention initiatives in Oklahoma County and Tulsa County have been expanding educational programs, teen-friendly clinic services and opportunities for all community residents and sectors to become partners in prevention. A shared vision, broad-based leadership, coordinated plan, active partnerships and sustained commitment is making an impact in those metro areas.