Children’s Coalition gets help to support teen parents

The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana on Wednesday received a $50,000 community grant from UnitedHealthcare to help support teen parents and improve pregnancy outcomes for Louisiana teens.

The grant will help improve teen pregnancy outcomes through the school site, Jus4Me, which places the evidence-based “Nurturing Skills for Teen Parents” at the heart of a weekly site-based program for pregnant teens and teen parents.

The project will serve pregnant teens in Ouachita, Union and Madison parishes, and will be located in four high schools.

UnitedHealthcare representatives gave the grant funding to the Children’s Coalition on Wednesday during a ceremony at Carroll High School.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 15 percent of Louisiana’s babies are born before term, the second-highest rate in the nation compared to the national average of 11.5 percent. Babies born before term are at a higher risk of developing health complications that can adversely affect vision, hearing, heart rate, blood health, immune systems and breathing.

Northeastern Louisiana has a teen birth rate of 55.6 teen births per 1,000 teens, more than twice the national average teen birth rate of 26.6 per 1,000.

In Union Parish, the growing Hispanic population has a birth rate of 98 per 1,000, almost five times the state average. Repeat births for teens in Union Parish are some of the highest in the region at 20 percent. The teen birth rate in Ouachita Parish is 57.8 per 1,000, and 50 per 1,000 in Madison Parish.

The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana is a membership-based nonprofit organization dedicated to creating communities where children and families thrive. It addresses the needs of children and youth ages 0-18 in four main areas: early care and education, healthy living, parent education and youth development.