House OKs Teen Pregnancy and Dropout Prevention Program

(Feb. 13) – Rep. Jessie Danielson’s bill to turn a highly successful pilot program targeting teen pregnancy into a statewide operation won voice-vote approval in the House today.

The program, currently piloted in Delta, Mesa and Montrose counties, provides counseling to Medicaid-eligible at-risk teens to help them avoid peer pressure and drug and alcohol abuse, make responsible reproductive health choices and prevent unintended pregnancies. In 2013, program providers reported that over the previous three years, only one of the 140 teen participants reported a pregnancy.

The program does not provide contraception.

HB15-1079, sponsored by Reps. Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, and Don Coram, R-Montrose, would take the pilot program statewide, giving young Coloradans information that will help them stay in school and earn a degree.

“Teen mothers are more likely to drop out of school and more likely to wind up on public assistance,” Rep. Danielson said. “Our investment will actually save the state an estimated $1 million a year once the program is up and running. But the most important result will be the young lives that will no longer be derailed.”

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