As the Shasta County teen pregnancy rate rises to the highest level in four years, proposed cuts to teen parenting programs couldn't have come at a worse time.
In 2007, 271 babies were born to teenage mothers in Shasta County at a rate of 37.9 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19, an increase from 32.3 the year before, according to Shasta County Public Health records. California's teen birth rate increased from 2005 to 2006 but fell slightly in 2007 to a rate of 37.1.
Until 2005, the teen pregnancy rate had been on a steady decline nationwide since the early '90s. The U.S. teen birth rate for 2007 was 42.5 births per 1,000, the highest rate since 2002, according to National Vital Statistics. While no one is sure why the teen birth rate is on the rise, many are concerned about where the increasing number of pregnant and parenting teenage girls will turn for help as their options are whittled away.