Call Your Legislators!

Your legislators are developing their priorities for next year’s state budget NOW. If you care about teen pregnancy prevention and teen parent programs then you need to urge your Representative and Senator to prioritize these programs! Fiscal year 2012 is going to be tougher than the past two fiscal years, leaving policymakers with difficult decisions over which programs to cut and which to protect. The ONLY way to ensure programs you care about are spared is by making your voice loud and clear to your legislators. Call, write and email your Representative and Senator this week. Urge your colleagues, friends and teens to do the same.

You can find your Representative and Senator and their contact information here.

Below is a script you can use for calls, emails and letters. Feel free to focus on one or all of the programs included in the script. The more methods of advocacy you use, the more effective we will be at protecting teen pregnancy prevention and teen parent programs.

This year your intensive, ongoing advocacy will be absolutely critical to maintain funding for the programs you care about. Thank you for your advocacy! 

 –—script–—

Hi my name is_________ from ______________ (program and city/town). I am calling to urge _____________ (Representative/Senator) to include teen pregnancy prevention and teen parent program funding in his/her priorities for the fiscal year 2012 budget. Specifically:
1. Fund the Young Parent Program (part of DTA 4401-1000) at $3.2 million and the overall Employment Services Line Item at $15 million and invest in our only state funded workforce development program designed to move teen parents off of welfare and into family sustaining jobs.
YPP saves Massachusetts $150 million over 10 years: The net fiscal contribution of the youth who attain their GED or high school diploma through YPPs is approximately $3 million every year. Each cohort of youth continues to save the Commonwealth $3 million every year after they have attained a GED or diploma. This means that over 10 years, Massachusetts saves approximately $150 million.[1]
YPP Works: 98% of YPP students gain employment or enter skills training, attain a GED or high school diploma, pursue post-secondary education and/or advance 2 grade levels each year.[2]
YPP Prevents a Life of Poverty for the Children of Teen Parents: A child has a 27% chance of growing up in poverty if the mother gives birth as a teen. If the mother also does not achieve a high school diploma or GED, the chance of that child growing up in poverty increases to 42%.[3]
2. Fund Teen Pregnancy Prevention (DPH 4530-9000) at $2.4 million to invest in dropout reduction and cost savings: 26% of youth who drop out of high school each year report that teen parenthood is a leading reason why they left school.[4] Reductions in teen childbearing saved Massachusetts taxpayers $144 million in one year alone.[5]
3. Support Teen Parent Child Care and fund accounts EEC 3000-4050 and EEC 3000-4060 at $361 million overall to ensure every teen parent can stay in school and work.
4. Fund the Teen Living Shelter Program (DTA 4403-2119) at $6.6 million. Even this level of funding does not meet demand. The average monthly number of families waiting for a TLP bed is 30 and the wait for a bed can be over a month.
5. Fund the Young Parent Support Program (part of DCF 4800-0038) at $2.3 million and $247 million for the overall account. YPS helps the most at risk young parents with mental health, trauma, homelessness and domestic violence issues access the services they need to meet their responsibilities as parents, students and employees.
6. Fund the Healthy Families Program (EEC 3000-7000) at $10.5 million.
Thank you

–—end script–—
  

Script References

[1] Andrew Sum, et al. Northeastern University (2008) The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Costs of Dropping Out of High School in MA and Bristol County Powerpoint Presentation, http://www.clms.neu.edu/publications. Adults 16-64 in the U.S. who have their HS Diploma or GED, as compared to those who do not, have a positive net fiscal contribution (tax payments - government transfers) of $6,851 per year. When this statistic is applied to the 397 youth who attained their GED or High School Diploma through the YPP program in FY2010, the net fiscal impact is $2.7 million for one year. For every cohort of 397 youth who attain a GED or Diploma through YPP, they continue to save Massachusetts $2.7 every year. As this $2.7 in savings is compounded over the years, YPP saves Massachusetts approximately $150 million over 10 years, which is $15 per year on average.
[2] DTA FY2010 Outcomes Data, obtained November 2010.
[3]The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Why it matters: Teen Pregnancy and Education, fact sheet.
[4] The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2006). The silent epidemic: Perspectives of high school dropouts. Seattle, WA.
[5] The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unintended Pregnancy (2006). By the Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing. Washington, D.C.