Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Teen birth rates have dropped 54% in Milwaukee since 2006, surpassing the goal set by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha-led Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in 2008. The goal was to reduce teen birth rates by 46% by 2015 – it was considered one of the most ambitious goals ever set in the nation.

In 2013 the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative announced another ambitious goal – to reduce the 2013 overall rate by another 50%, to 11.4 births per 1,000, by 2023. The initiative’s success is attributed to an all-hands-on-deck approach adopted by the community, which has been honored nationally as a model for other cities.

Why

Teen pregnancy profoundly, and in most cases negatively, affects the lives of those involved while costing the community millions of dollars through direct care, ancillary services, and the overall drain on the workforce. Most alarming is the connection between Milwaukee's teen pregnancy epidemic and vicious, cyclical poverty.

Since 2006, the Greater Milwaukee community has invested significant resources to aggressively combat what was then one of the worst teen birth rates in the nation. United Way convened a communitywide collaborative to bring the issue to the forefront of public attention and change the historically high rate of teen births.

To ensure we address the teen pregnancy crisis, United Way:

  • Brings together representatives from business, government, education, the medical field, the faith community, law enforcement and other nonprofits to create a focused, cumulative effort.
  • Invests in Healthy Girls Initiative programs to educate youth about the consequences of teen pregnancy and teach skills needed to cope with social pressures, with the goal of delaying sexual activity and avoiding pregnancy.
  • Maintains BabyCanWait.com with help from The Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin to provide a resource of medically accurate age-appropriate information on preventing pregnancy and promoting healthy relationships for youth. 
  • Released the 5-year progress report If Truth Be Told in May, 2011.

Community Media Efforts

Serve Marketing has done an amazing job developing the look and messaging for all media-driven teen pregnancy prevention campaigns since 2006.

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 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Oversight Committee

Co-chairs

  • Bevan Baker - Commissioner, City of Milwaukee Health Department
  • Elizabeth Brenner - Community Volunteer

Members

  • Nicole Angresano - Vice President of Community Impact, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
  • Catherine Arney - Vice President of Community Services, Pathfinders
  • Shalon Atkins - Executive Coordinator, New Concept Self Development Center, Inc.
  • Tanya Atkinson - Vice President of External Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc.
  • Maria Barker - Multicultural Programs Manager, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc.
  • Julie Bock - Senior Vice President of Programs, Pathfinders
  • Dare Boling - Community Volunteer
  • Dr. Clarence Chou - Staff Psychiatrist, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division
  • Maryann Clesceri - Executive Director, The Healing Center
  • Gerry Coon - Executive Director, Diverse & Resilient
  • Deidra Edwards - Director of Marketing and Business Development, Outreach Community Health Centers, Inc.
  • Brett Fuller - Curriculum Specialist, Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Dr. Charlene Gaebler-Uhing - Adolescent Specialist, Children's Medical Group
  • Laura Gainor - Executive Director, Serve
  • Susan Hackl - Community Volunteer
  • Nancy Hahn - PREP Grant Coordinator, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Dawn Helmrich - Director of Data and Outcomes, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
  • Gary Hollander - Community Volunteer
  • Christine Holmes - President and CEO, Penfield Children's Center
  • Gerry Howze - Executive Director, PEARLS for Teen Girls
  • Mark Huber - Senior VP Social Responsibility, Aurora Health Care
  • Teri Huyck - President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc.
  • Vanessa Johnson - President and CEO, New Concept Self Development Center, Inc.
  • Kari Lerch - Deputy Director, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
  • James Marks - Senior Advisor, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
  • Jan Martin - Community Volunteer
  • Linda Mellowes - Community Volunteer
  • Gwen Moore - Congresswoman, United States Congress
  • Gary Mueller - Executive Creative Director, Serve
  • Bailey Murph - Health Portfolio Manager, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
  • Candy Pindyck - Community Volunteer
  • Carmen Pitre - Executive Director, Sojourner Family Peace Center
  • Ellen Redeker - Managing Director, The PrivateBank
  • Julie Rothwell - Director of Community Impact, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
  • Patricia Ruiz-Cantu - Community Outreach Manager, City of Milwaukee
  • Anne Summers - Executive Director, The Brico Fund
  • Lena Taylor - Senator, State of Wisconsin
  • Sarah Tyree-Francis - Volunteer and Alumnae Relations Coordinator, PEARLS for Teen Girls
  • Melissa Ugland - Principal, Ugland Associates
  • Rev. Dr. Walton John Jr. - Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
  • Linda Williams - Coordinator of Student Health Services, Milwaukee Public Schools
  • John Yopps - President and CEO, Jewish Family Services
  • Mary Lou Young - President and CEO, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative Partners

Community Based Organizations and Programs: Healthy Girls programs implement evidence-based programming to prevent teen pregnancy and sexual violence. In 2014-15, United Way will invest $674,000 in Healthy Girls programming at 14 organizations, proposing to serve more than 3,300 youth.

Colleges and Universities: United Way continues its collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Population Health to facilitate the Healthy Girls data project. In addition, United Way serves as an intern placement site, and placement for Public Ally members.

Local Media: United Way continues its public awareness campaign with SERVE Marketing. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel keeps teen pregnancy on the front burner and continues to focus on the issue. Other media partners, like ClearChannel Outdoor, Marcus Theaters, CW18 and My 24, ensure the messages reach the community.

The Faith Community: Volunteers, representing many faiths, are working toward increasing the dialogue and capacity among religious institutions to directly impact the issue of teen pregnancy. To date, over 40 adults have been trained as facilitators of "Keeping it Real", a faith-based sexual health curriculum. In September 2011, United Way and Christ the King hosted a facilitator training - 14 more adults are now ready to implement the curriculum in four places of worship. Over 85 local teens have already graduated from the eight-week, intensive curriculum.

Collaborative Fund: In March of 2006, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Advisory Committee released its results at the United Way Women’s Initiative luncheon in the report If Truth be Told: Teen Pregnancy, Public Health and the Cycle of Poverty. This report resulted in nine core recommendations, including creating a collaborative funding strategy to create a strategic and effective community response to teen pregnancy. The Collaborative Fund committee supports programming that would enable us to reach an aggressive but achievable goal of reducing births to teens by 46% by the year 2015.  In spring 2009, the inaugural Collaborative Fund launched with six members: Brico Fund, Faye McBeath Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Johnson Controls, Inc. Foundation, Rockwell Automation Foundation, and United Way of Greater Milwaukee. Between 2011-2013, 3 additional funders joined: Aurora Health Care Foundation, The Davis Family Fund, and The Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust. Each funding partner contributes $50,000, and actively participates in the grant making process.  To date, over $875,000 new dollars have been invested in community programs that address teen pregnancy and sexual violence prevention.

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS): United Way worked with MPS and other community leaders to revise human growth and development (HGD) curriculum. Community members were given an opportunity to review the materials and make suggestions about content. Between 2009-11 fourth- and fifth-grade teachers received training in the new HGD curriculum. This training was supported by a grant from United Way. The goal is to have consistent and thorough implementation at all grade levels by 2012.

United Way Women's Leadership: Members of United Way's Women's Leadership program continue to turn their concern into action. Because of the generosity and strength of these women, United Way is able to support and grow the critical work of this initiative. In 2013, United Way’s Healthy Girls Initiative investment in in evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention and sexual violence prevention for young people of all genders increased to $671,000 because of the money this group raised. United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County's total Healthy Girls investment to date is over $5.5 million.

National Recognition

The United Way-led initiative has been recognized by United Way Worldwide, Mutual of America and the White House Council for Community Solutions and was included in a report on successful community collaborations to President Barack Obama.

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© 2016 United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
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