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County bucks trend in teen pregnancy rates

For the first time in 16 years, teen pregnancy is on the rise in Minnesota.

In one year, the state saw an increase double that of the national pace.

According to data collected by the Minnesota Department of Health, from 2005 to 2006 Minnesota's teen pregnancy rate grew by 6 percent. The numbers for 2007 are not available yet.

During the same time period, the teen birth rate in Minnesota rose by 7 percent. By comparison the nation's teen birth rate grew by only 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

Although the state of Minnesota's teen birth rate has increased, Douglas County rates have remained the same, according to Jennifer Janke, N.P.,C.N.M.

"We'd like to contribute that to programming being set up for youth in our area," said Janke, who serves as president of the local Teen Pregnancy Prevention Action Council, known as TePPAC.

The organization has been coordinating teen pregnancy prevention programming for more than a decade by providing asset building tools to young people in the community.

TePPAC programming has been funded through the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties.

Activities have included funding "Baby Think It Over" dolls in area schools; providing the "Choices and Challenges" curriculum at the area learning center; hosting the annual Girl Power - Boy Power 5th grade retreat; offering the Postponing Sexual Involvement (PSI) curriculum in area schools; sponsoring an annual movie theater campaign; providing a key note speaker for the annual 8th grade Youth Health Day; and creating two adoption videos - Tough Choices I and II.

TePPAC also has provided many tools and resources to local schools and organizations to implement asset building activities, Janke said.