Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Intervention Reduces Delinquent Teenage Pregancy Rates

Date:
June 3, 2009
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
A program aimed at reducing criminal behavior in juvenile justice teens has yielded a surprising side benefit. The program is also reducing the teens' rate of pregnancy, according to a new study.

A program aimed at reducing criminal behavior in juvenile justice teens has yielded a surprising side benefit. The program is also reducing the teens' rate of pregnancy, according to a new study out this week.

Related Articles


David Kerr, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Oregon State University, and Leslie Leve and Patricia Chamberlain of the Eugene-based Oregon Social Learning Center, conducted the research, which will be published in the April edition of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Their work was funded in part by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The study was conducted with 166 teen girls ages 13-17 with histories of criminal behavior who had been court-mandated to receive out-of-home treatment. The girls were randomly assigned to either receive the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) program, which involved one-on-one care in the homes of highly trained foster parents, or the services they would have received had they not participated in the study, which was usually treatment in a group care facility.

The results were dramatic, according to lead author Kerr of OSU. About 26 percent of the girls assigned to receive the specialized Treatment Foster Care program became pregnant, compared to almost 47 percent of teens in group care.

"These girls are extremely compromised," Kerr said. "They are not doing well. They have had a hard time in different areas, including criminal behavior, drugs and risky sexual activity. Many of them had already been pregnant before the time of the intervention."

Kerr said while teen pregnancy rates have fallen in recent years, the United States still has one of the highest rates compared to other industrialized nations. And that rate is even higher among females in the foster care system. One survey of child welfare systems in three states found that nearly half of girls in the foster system reported a pregnancy by age 19.

The specialized foster care program places the teen in a highly supervised foster parent setting. The state-certified foster parent or parents have been given additional training on how to work with high-risk youth, and were provided with ongoing consultation, support and crisis intervention services from program supervisors.

"One of the most interesting aspects of this research is that the MTFC program was created to reduce crime, not pregnancy," Kerr said. "It specifically targeted changing the girl's environment: her home, her peers and her school experience. The focus was on giving her lots of supervision, support for responsible behavior, and consistent, non-harsh consequences for negative behavior. And this worked to reduce pregnancy rates."

According to Kerr, each girl and her caregiver were interviewed one and two years into the study. The greater reductions in teen pregnancy, as well as reductions in criminal activity and arrests and increases in school engagement, were found in the group that was assigned to receive the specialized Treatment Foster Care services.

Currently there are 51 of these specialized foster care programs in the US and Canada, 41 in Europe and 1 in New Zealand. New program sites are being trained and certified each year by Eugene-based TFC Consultants, Inc.

The standard group care approach to treating a juvenile justice case costs $7,000 less than using the specialized Treatment Foster Care in the short-term. However, Kerr said that an independent analysis of teen boys showed that the dramatic reductions in criminal activity among teens in the specialized program costs taxpayers and crime victims $78,000 less per teen in the long term.

"The figures aren't available for girls yet, but delaying unintended pregnancies should add to that savings. But aside from the economics," he said, "the real plus is helping a high-risk teen grow up some more before she takes on that important job of motherhood. That's good for everyone."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kerr, David C. R.; Leve, Leslie D.; Chamberlain, Patricia. Pregnancy rates among juvenile justice girls in two randomized controlled trials of multidimensional treatment foster care. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2009; 77 (3): 588-593 [link]

Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Intervention Reduces Delinquent Teenage Pregancy Rates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090601091924.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2009, June 3). Intervention Reduces Delinquent Teenage Pregancy Rates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090601091924.htm
Oregon State University. "Intervention Reduces Delinquent Teenage Pregancy Rates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090601091924.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins