First-Ever National day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle are teaming up today to kick off the first National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Delaware’s two former governors will join teens, legislators and advocates on the steps of the United States Capitol to call for increased funding and attention to prevent teen pregnancy. The National Day takes place as Congress considers reauthorizing the 1996 welfare reform legislation. Carper’s Work and Family Act reforms welfare by strengthening families, reducing poverty, empowering parents and discouraging teen pregnancy. His welfare reform plan seeks to reduce teen pregnancy by 25%. As Co-Chairman of the House Advisory Panel to the National Campaign to Reduce Teen Pregnancy, Castle has long been a champion of reducing teen pregnancy. Castle has also introduced H.Con.Res. 393 to show Congressional support for the first National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The National Day centers on focusing teens on the need to think about the importance of postponing pregnancy and parenthood until they are adults. By logging onto www.teenpregnancy.org, teens can take an online quiz that presents them with realistic scenarios and asks them to take a course of action. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, sponsor of The National Day, believes the Internet based quiz will empower teens across the nation to make a personal commitment to avoiding pregnancy. “Reducing teen pregnancy helps break the cycle of poverty. When parents wait, children win. The goal is to ensure that every child has the chance to succeed. That goal is far more difficult to reach when children are being born to children,” said Carper. “We’ve proven that when we concentrate our energies on strengthening our families, families win. We must continue to identify the programs that are working and the people that are helping them do so.” As governors, Carper and Castle focused on reducing the number of teen pregnancies in Delaware. Today, Delaware boasts a success rate nearly double the national average, and is ranked third in the nation for successfully reducing teen pregnancy. “Teen pregnancy is not a stand-alone issue. It has a direct affect on many other social issues, including health care, poverty, welfare, education, jobs and fatherhood,” Castle said. “Simply put, the efforts to reduce teen pregnancy must be a community-wide responsibility. There is not one solution, so we must continue to be innovative and creative and welcoming of all people and their suggestions as we fight to lower the teen pregnancy rates throughout the United States.” Lead governor during the overhaul of the nation’s welfare reform system in 1996, Carper instituted a successful welfare reform policy in Delaware that reduced teen pregnancy and cut the state’s welfare rolls by over 50%. In the Senate he is leading a coalition of moderate Senators, a majority of whom are former governors, to take the next step in welfare reform. The Bayh-Carper Work and Family Act commits nearly $100 million to reduce teen pregnancy by 25% over the next ten years. As governor, Castle initiated welfare reform in Delaware and helped write the National Family Support Act of 1988. He used this experience to write the only bipartisan welfare reform plan in the House with Rep. John Tanner (D-TN) in 1995. President Clinton endorsed the Castle-Tanner welfare reform bill and nearly 70 percent of the bill became law.