Statement on NC Youth Connected Initiative in Onslow County

RALEIGH, N.C. – SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens) believes teen pregnancy is a complex issue, and is best addressed using a coordinated, multi-pronged approach. SHIFT NC works with local communities and organizations to find effective ways to address teen pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infections, and other sexual health issues.

NC Youth Connected, one of SHIFT NC’s signature projects funded by the Office of Adolescent Health, is a community-wide initiative with the goal of reducing the teen pregnancy rate by 50% by the year 2020. Since the fall of 2015, SHIFT NC has been partnering with local leaders and youth serving organizations to enhance teen pregnancy prevention efforts in Onslow County.

Steps to effectively address teen pregnancy can be made when key community groups work together including schools, the medical community, parents, nonprofits, faith leaders, and youth-serving systems. We believe strongly that the community needs to be engaged in order for teen pregnancy prevention programming to succeed. We also believe strongly in transparent and smart stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and take our responsibility to ensure project success seriously.

To meet the grant requirements, we need to have an array of committed partners on board including health care providers, local schools, and multiple youth-serving organizations. Without the minimum required number of youth-serving partners and community settings needed, this initiative cannot be successfully implemented in Onslow County.

Over the past year a community resident survey and focus groups with parents, teens, and youth serving professionals demonstrated overwhelming support for teen pregnancy prevention programs and effective strategies. Partners will continue to build on this support to improve services for youth and families.

Onslow County now has more tools to address teen pregnancy including organizations that remain committed to teen pregnancy prevention, survey data that illustrates widespread support for effective pregnancy prevention strategies, and more awareness of the problem in the community.

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CONTACT: Krista Park Berry, Communications Specialist