Teen birth rates in the village of Bolingbrook decreased by 52 percent between 2014 and 2017, according to the Will County Health Department.
The Bolingbrook Alliance for Teen Pregnancy Prevention has worked on the issue along with the health department with the aid of a grant, according to a news release. The BATPP was established through the Illinois Department of Human Services Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grant.
Funding for this state grant was awarded to communities with high rates of teen births and sexually transmitted diseases among African Americans and Latino populations. The IDHS identified Bolingbrook as having higher than average rates of teen births, chlamydia and gonorrhea. In 2014, there were 64 teen births in the village.
The health department was awarded the grant in 2016 in collaboration with the Valley View School District. The grant enabled the department’s community health educators to teach evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention in the district’s Bolingbrook middle and high schools. The evidence-based initiatives specifically focus on reducing the rate of teen pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as risky sexual behaviors among teenagers.
In addition to teaching students, the grant also required the simultaneous education of parents and the community about methods to fight teen pregnancy and STDs and reduce the teen birth rate through education and positive youth development. Service providers from youth-serving organizations, community stakeholders, VVSD staff, parents and community members and health educators were all invited to join the effort.
The BATPP also identified a lack of places in the village for sexually active teens to get tested and treatment for STDs or affordable contraceptive methods. The BATPP and the Will County Community Health Center collaborated to bring a Teen Clinic to the health department’s Bolingbrook site.