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Town targeting teen birth rate

Southbridge seeing success in recent years

December 06, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — For several years, Southbridge has been near the top of a list most towns wouldn't envy — the rate of teens having children.

The good news, though, is that its rank has been dropping each year. In 2007, state Department of Public Health data show Southbridge was fourth; in 2008, sixth; in 2009 (the last data available), seventh. Since 1999, the town's teen pregnancy rate has fallen by 25 percent, very close to the state's decline of 27 percent.

Jasmin Rivas hopes to help that number fall farther this year.

Starting last week, the You, Inc., program coordinator kicked off a new DPH-funded effort to teach various issues that go into preventing pregnancy, including contraception, abstinence, better communication skills, and the need for setting goals that pregnancy at a young age often derails. This initial effort runs two weeks and builds on a program run at the alternative education program Project Grow this summer, but she intends to introduce it at Wells Junior High after Christmas break.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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