Florida Programs Show Ray of Light for At-Risk Mothers and Babies
Florida’s Mothers and Babies
- 231,417 babies were born in 2008.
- 9% were born with low or very low birth weight
- 10% were born to teen mothers aged 15 – 19 (89% of which were not married)
- 26% were born to young mothers aged 20 – 24 (66% of which were not married, and a repeat birth for 48%)
- 38% of mothers 15 – 24 received less than adequate prenatal care
- 38% of all preterm births were to mothers aged 15 – 24
- 22% of Florida’s children under age 5 lived in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008)
- The U.S. has the highest teen birth rate, almost twice the average of all developed countries
A ray of positive light is shining on Florida as fewer babies are being born to teen girls and young women, yet there is still much that needs to be done to reduce the rate of unintended and unwanted pregnancies and increase the number of babies born into healthy environments.
Florida KIDS COUNT, which disseminates national, statewide and county-level data on key indicators for Florida’s children, reached out to Children’s Services Councils and various state partners to find out what is being done in their communities to continue the downward trend of teen pregnancies and increase the number of babies born with opportunities for a bright future. Responses revealed a variety of prevention and early intervention programs focused on teen pregnancy, prenatal care, child abuse and neglect, and substance abuse.
“Evidence-based and comprehensive approaches to prevention and intervention are keys to reducing the numbers of babies born at risk of unhealthy beginnings. Children’s Services Councils and agencies throughout the state are implementing approaches that are showing positive outcomes, said Susan Weitzel, director of Florida KIDS COUNT. “We are pleased to share this information so that other communities can learn what is working and tailor approaches specific to their needs.”
The programs highlighted are showing improvements in areas of infant mortality, low birth weight babies and births among teenagers, and are seeing positive impacts for pregnant and parenting women with substance abuse issues.
View KIDS COUNT listing of Florida programs aimed at improving healthy mothers and babies.