Some of the highest teen birth rates in New York City are found in communities in southeast Queens and on the Rockaway Peninsula, according to the state Department of Health (DOH).
Black and Latina teens in these areas are more likely to give birth before their 20th birthday than their white counterparts in other neighborhoods, according to the state DOH. Lack of access to reproductive healthcare and sex education are contributors to this inequality.
Teens who experience a rapid repeat pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs within two years after the first) are at an increased risk for poor health and psychosocial outcomes.
To reduce the effect of these disparities, the Queens Comprehensive Perinatal Council, Inc. (QCPC) provides services to local pregnant and parenting teens through its Teens Educational Enrichment Network (T.E.E.N.) Support Project.
The T.E.E.N. initiative aims to empower pregnant and parenting teens by helping them avoid rapid repeat pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, to maintain compliance with an effective birth control method and to focus on academic, workforce development and training goals.
Since 1988, the Queens Comprehensive Perinatal Council, Inc. (QCPC), a not-for-profit, community-based maternal/child health organization, has promoted improvements in perinatal health in underserved Queens communities through a multitude of programs and projects.
The T.E.E.N. Support Project offers TASA (Teenage Services Act) case management, a services intervention to increase their access to an array of community resources. Home visits are conducted according to the recommended schedules of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).
An evidence-based curriculum, AIM 4 Teen Moms (AIM4TM) is also offered as part of the project. AIM4TM consists of a series of empowerment sessions and activities designed to enable teenage mothers to recognize their self-efficacy and embrace their future as an opportunity to achieve their reproductive, educational and professional goals.
The T.E.E.N. Support Project also develops a variety of enhanced services to address the complex needs of pregnant and parenting adolescents. These include academic support, family support, teen dad support, development of enhanced parenting skills, mental health support group meetings, mentorship and linkages to teen community resources.
As part of the T.E.E.N. Support Project, QCPC also offers monthly health education workshops to address topics that are pertinent to pregnant and parenting adolescents such as Reproductive Health and Birth Spacing, Family Planning, Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships, Love is Not Abuse, Safe Sleep Practices and Teen Parenting Best Practices.
The T.E.E.N. Support Project is offered to Black and Latino teenagers (13 to 19 years old) who are either pregnant or parenting a child 12 months or younger and live in one of the following ZIP codes: Cambria Heights (11411); St. Albans (11412); Springfield Gardens (11413); Jamaica (11432, 11434); South Jamaica (11433); South Ozone Park (11435, 11436); Far Rockaway (11691); Arverne (11692); and Rockaway Beach (11693).
The T.E.E.N. Support Project offers welcome gifts for newly enrolled teen participants and has prizes and raffles throughout the program. The dedicated staff at QCPC are available to help the pregnant and parenting teens in these target communities. To contact QCPC, call 718-276-TEEN (8336) or email [email protected].