chapter  11
Building a Rock to Stand On: Policies That Enhance Competence for the Transition to Early Adulthood
Pages 32

Past program and policy solutions to the social costs of adolescent parenting have focused on the obvious corrective: If the problem is out-of-wedlock births, then programs and policies directed at reducing these births are needed. However, the many program and policy efforts directed at limiting sexual activity and births to teens have had only marginal effects-generally attributed to increases in condom use by adolescents in the wake of the safe sex education that has followed the AIDS epidemic (e.g., Child Trends, 1997; Franklin, Grant, Corcoran, Miller, & Bultman, 1997). The availability of abstinence education funds has increased, but there is no evidence supporting the effectiveness of these programs in reducing the sexual activity of youth. The fact remains that each year approximately half a million children are born to adolescents from a wide variety of backgrounds (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994). Women already disadvantaged by minority status and poverty are disproportionately likely to become pregnant and likely to suffer negative consequences from adolescent childbearing.