Local Teen Pregnancy: Statistics vs. Reality
CHARLOTTE, NC- Teen pregnancy is at an all-time low in North Carolina, but according to local experts, the problem here in Charlotte is still severe.
Torrie Burgess got pregnant with her son Malachi at 17.
"Being a teenage mother, you don't really know what you're getting into," said Burgess, a North Charlotte resident.
Burgess hopes to see more pregnancy prevention efforts in Charlotte.
"Regardless if the statistics are dropping - out of a hundred, if it drops by 50, we still have 50 more girls to help," said Burgess.
The North Carolina teen pregnancy rate for girls ages 15-19 fell 12 percent in 2011 at almost at almost 14,000.
It's down 58 percent from when it peaked in 1990 at over 26,000.
"Worst case scenario is policy makers look at these rates and say oh, they're low now, so our work is done and then we see rates rise," said Carrie Meier, Gaston County Health Department Pregnancy Prevention supervisor.
"It's still a huge problem in this area. We still average too many pregnancies annually," said Judy Sanders-Bull, Communities In School Adolescent Parenting Program directoer.
Sanders-Bull works with teens in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools to prevent first and second-time pregnancies.
"It's going to take families, parents, this community, it's going to take the school system," said Sanders-Bull.
At Florence Critttenton in Charlotte, management says they've helped a girl as young as 10 years old get through her pregnancy. As they see the average age of teen moms drop,they're working with state lawmakers to make sure their programs continue.
Even though state statistics show there are fewer teen moms, the CEO of Florence "The need for safety, for care and support has not changed. We're talking about some of the most vulnerable people in our society,"Marilyn Thompson.
North Carolina has the 14th highest teen pregnancy rate in the country.