Teenagers having more than one child at increasing rate - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Teenagers having more than one child at increasing rate

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Almost one in five teenage girls in the U.S. have more than one child before reaching adulthood, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Arkansas was one of eight states in the U.S.  where 20% of all teen births were repeats. Of the 365,000 teens who gave birth in 2010, nearly 67,000 have had at least one child before.

According to a new CDC report, more teens are using birth control after having their first baby, but a small percentage are using the most effective methods of birth control.

Amber Davis is a Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher at Nettleton High School and teaches a parenting class. Davis said she covers everything from making the decision to become a parent to how to care for a child.

"I focus on teen pregnancy because I want them to realize how much time goes into having a child and how important it is and hard it is if they had one early," Davis said.

The students in her class will soon take home a robotic baby that Davis said teaches them all about responsibility.

Responsibility is something 21-year-old Trana Hurt knows all about. She was pregnant with her first child at 16.

"There was a lot of ups and downs for a while, there was a lot of downs because I didn't have any help," she said.

"I had a second child when I was 17 but I lost him and then I had this one when I was 20."

Hurt dropped out of high school in the 11th grade but has been working on getting her GED. She said she still plans on going to college.

"There's going to be a lot of people trying to bring you down but you just have to stay strong, if not for yourself, for your kids," Hurt said. 

Hurt said she has learned a lot from being a young parent. The most important advice she offers other teenagers is to listen to your parents.

"They will tell you something and you will be like yeah that's never going to happen, it always happens," she said.

Hurt is a part of the Souls Outreach: Matter of the Heart Ministries in Jonesboro where Melinda Young is the founder. Young said she decided to create this ministry after seeing such a need in the community.

"My focus is going on to touch the young ladies, deal with them while their pregnant and becoming pregnant and let them know they can still have education," Young said.

Young was also a teen mom and said she likes to share her experiences with the girls she ministers.

"I learned that I should have listened to my mom and father because my education was important and my parent was real strict on that part," she said.

Young said she really wants her ministry to be a resource in the community. She said she is working on getting her business off the ground because she wants to help ladies outside of Jonesboro.

"There's people out there that really need help and I believe my ministry is going to help that because I have a drive and motivation to do that," Young said.

In 1990, 25% of teen births were repeats so there has been a gradual decline over the years.

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