Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Policy alert re adolescent health and youth development cuts

CONNECTED to Public Policy
Connecting Communities to State Policy in Action
News Bulletin---December 7, 2006

URGENT LEGISLATIVE ALERT Funding Cuts to Adolescent Health and Youth Development Program Department of Human Resources (DHR) proposed FY08 budget recommends cutting $3.4 million from the Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD) program. There are two major components of the AHYD program and services: * Youth development coordinators (18 positions throughout Georgia) and related community-based services, including teen pregnancy prevention services and health outreach. These positions and services provide a network of community-based support to help adolescents succeed as they move into adulthood. By focusing on the positive assets of youth and working in partnership with families, schools, public agencies, community organizations, and the faith community, the AHYD program and services reinforce positive attitudes, healthy behaviors, and activities and reduce risk-taking behaviors such as violence, substance abuse, poor school performance, and sexual activity. * Teen Centers (currently 31 throughout Georgia). Teen Centers were created in 1997 to address high teen pregnancy rates in Georgia. Pregnancy rates have declined significantly in Georgia, but they have declined at even a higher rate in counties with a Teen Center. Each center is unique, as communities have been able to customize programs and services to meet local needs in ways that fit with local attitudes and concerns. What we understand: The proposed redirection in funds would eliminate youth development coordination and all of Public Health's community teen pregnancy prevention services. Teen Centers would not be eliminated. What may be at risk? * Georgia's 18 youth development coordinators, who act as the outreach and coordination point for the statewide youth development system. These coordinators work with teens and their families and in collaboration with other community organizations such as Family Connection. Their efforts build upon and expand community resources to improve the quantity and quality of services for adolescents and youth. Youth development coordinators serve the entire state, but are located in the following counties: Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Crisp, Dekalb, Dougherty, Floyd, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Laurens, Lowndes, Richmond, Troup, Ware and Whitfield. * Community teen pregnancy prevention services and adolescent health outreach that are provided in counties where there are no Teen Centers. These programs serve thousands of Georgia teens.

Connecting Communities to State Policy in Action
News Bulletin--- December 6, 2006

URGENT LEGISLATIVE ALERT Funding Cuts to Adolescent Health and Youth Development Program (continued) Georgia has worked hard to develop a comprehensive youth development system and our hard work has paid off with a steady decline in the teen pregnancy rate over the past 10 years. Why would we dismantle a system that has been so successful? According to the 2006 Georgia Kids Count report, the teen pregnancy rate in Georgia has declined from 68.3 per 1000 in 1994 to 39.4 per 1000 in 2004. Infants born to teen mothers tend to have lower birthweight and greater incidence of infant mortality. Pregnant teens are less likely to seek and receive timely prenatal care. Children born to young mothers are more likely to have increased health and behavioral problems, poor school performance, and be at increased risk of child abuse and neglect. DHR's budget proposals for FY08 have been forwarded to Governor Perdue and the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB). Governor Perdue and the OPB staff are working on the Governor's version of the FY08 budget, which will be finalized soon and presented to the Georgia General Assembly soon after the session convenes on January 8, 2007.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? If you are concerned about how these proposed cuts will affect services in your community, you should contact Governor Perdue. You should also share your concerns with your own state representative and state senator. You can write, call, fax or e-mail Governor Perdue: Honorable Sonny Perdue, Governor 203 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334 Tel: 404-656-1776, FAX: 404-657-7332 E-mail: <http://www.gov.state.ga.us/contact_dom.shtml> If you are not sure who your state representative and state senator are, go to www.vote-smart.org <http://www.vote-smart.org>. On the panel on the left side of the page, you are asked to enter your nine-digit ZIP code. Instructions for determining your nine-digit ZIP code are included. Once you have entered this information, you will be provided with contact information for all of your elected officials, including your state representative(s) and state senator.

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