Cuyahoga Co Board of Health Gets $5 mill to Address Teen Pregnancies

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By Anne Glausser

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health recently received a nearly $5 million federal grant to address the issue of teen pregnancy in Northeast Ohio.

Though teen pregnancies have declined nationally, it’s still a significant problem for Cuyahoga County, where certain zipcodes have rates that are nearly double the national average. There’s also racial disparity: young African American women ages 15-19 have a four-fold increase in births compared to young white women of the same age. 

Those numbers sparked the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to apply for federal Health and Human Services funding to implement teen pregnancy prevention programs in local schools where the need is the greatest. 

With the 5-year, $5 million dollar grant now in hand, the board will bring in specialized sex education instructors to middle school and high school classrooms in Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Euclid, Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, Richmond Heights, and Warrensville Heights as well as the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland.

Gloria Agosto-Davis with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health says the evidence-based prevention programs will be much more comprehensive than what’s now available. "Often times, regular health classes don’t have the time to really delve into topics such as puberty, STI prevention, pregnancy prevention, as well as helping the kids come to their own ideas and beliefs regarding their bodies, their sexuality, things of that nature," she said.

No condoms will be handed out in these educational school sessions though information about where to obtain birth control will be available.

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