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Targeting Latino Families for Teen Pregnancy Prevention

— Attendees of the first Teen Pregnancy Prevention Summit at Cal State San Marcos got a preview of a film called "Vamos a Hablar" (Let’s Talk).

The film is a collaboration between the Mano a Mano Foundation and Video in the Community and features interviews with North County Latina teen moms and their parents.

Getting those two groups to communicate is particularly important in California, according to Mano A Mano’s director, Dr. Beatriz Villareal.

“Every time that a teen mom has a baby – out of three, two are Latinos,” Villareal said. “So that’s a lot. Parents are not talking to their kids about sex, it’s a cultural thing – we never talk about it.”

More than half of Latinas in the U.S. have a baby before their 20th birthdays, which means they’re less likely to get a high school diploma and more likely to end up relying on government support.

Some of the summit’s speakers said it is a particularly important time to stay focused on reaching out to teens.

“We’ve seen a pattern of the rates declining and then also rising and then back to the decline of teen pregnancy but also the reduction of teen programs we’re starting to see and we don’t know how that’s going to impact the future teen pregnancy rates,” said Maria Gutierrez, adolescent health and outreach services coordinator for Vista Community Clinic.

Many of the programs for teens that Gutierrez is hoping to see spared from budget cuts are provided free of charge, a fact she hoped summit participants would share with families in their communities.

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