Las Vegas CBS KXNT- Nevada’s producing more than its share of teen pregnancies. The state ranks fourth in the nation for teen pregnancies and 13th for teen childbirth, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

“It’s not just a family issue, or a community issue, it’s a Nevada issue.” health educator Shawnta Jackson told KXNT. “In 2008 it’s estimated that teen child bearing in Nevada cost taxpayers about $84.3 million dollars.”

That includes the cost of public health care, child welfare, incarceration costs, and loss of tax revenue from women who won’t fulfill their career potential.

“A teen monther is less likely to graduate from high school, and more likely to remain in poverty,” Jackson said.

Those are the facts underlying a grant-funded education effort by the SNHD. Classes in both English and Spanish are being taken into the seven Las Vegas zip codes where teen pregnancies are most concentrated. They’re covering pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, abstinence and birth control. Notably, the classes also venture into negotiating condom use.

“We do role-modeling, so that they have the opportunity to learn from each other,” Jackson said. “We the kids to be prepared if they feel pressured,” she said.

The role playing helps them figure out how to respond when the moment arises.

SNHD is offering a separate workshop for all parents across the valley who need help approaching the tough conversations with their kids about sex. The next free workshop is on Tuesday from 6-8:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Call 702-759-0831.


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