Trying to decrease the number of pregnant teens was discussed at Wednesday's Community Resource Council meeting.
Angelica Carranza, a teen pregnancy program manager for Golden Valley Health Centers, said her group received a five-year grant in 2010 to help reduce teen pregnancy. She said she encourages teen girls who come to the clinic to enroll in the program, which teaches abstinence, safe sex, not being pressured into having sex and avoiding alcohol and drug abuse. Preventing diseases is also emphasized.
"From what I've seen, they know about teen pregnancy and that they don't want to be pregnant. They do not realize how being so active puts them at risk for sexually transmitted (disease)," Carranza said.
She said teens who are pregnant in the Los Banos and Dos Palos area are largely unaware of the free and confidential family planning services provided by Golden Valley.
"In some places where there's not a Planned Parenthood, we want them to know there are other resources available," she said.
Memorial Hospital Los Banos commissioned a recently released health needs assessment study. The report states that in 2010 there were 84 children born to girls 15 to 19 years old and 14.7 percent of all births in the city that year were to teen mothers. The study also states that 54.7 percent of pregnant teens in Los Banos did not receive prenatal care in their first trimester.
Sandy Lemas, president of Soroptimist International Los Banos, said becoming a teenage mother puts girls at a much greater risk of living a life in poverty. Carranza said studies have consistently shown parental involvement in the lives of children reduces the chances of teens becoming pregnant.
"It's really difficult for girls. They really like their boyfriend, some of them really have a hard time and give in because they love him so much," Carranza said. "They're developmentally at a point where they are experimenting with things, good or bad. They really need that support from a caring adult, parent, to be able to guide them."