New Grant Hopes to Help Out Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates in Stat - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Grant Hopes to Help Out Highest Teen Pregnancy Rates in State

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- A new federal grant will help teen parents and families in counties across our region.

Teen pregnancy rates in Franklin, Grant, Adams and Yakima counties are on average more than double the state teen pregnancy rates.

A $6 million federal grant will help provide teen parents and expecting teens with health and education programs in hopes of giving them a better future.

"We know teen pregnancies are associated with more risk of complications for both the mother and the baby. It tends to also have more economic and educational impact for both the moms completing school and even for the kids of teen moms," said Dr. Amy Person, Benton Franklin Health District.

Programs covered by the funding will help teens to finish school, prevent another pregnancy in their teen years and give their babies a healthy start.

"You're not just affecting that one person. You're affecting them, you may be affecting the generation above them, you're affecting definitely the generation below them. So trying to help a teen obtain a high school education or go on to college is going to directly impact the out come of their child's health," said Jan Crayk, Washington State Department of Health.

The Washington State Attorney General's Office says the grant will also support domestic violence prevention.

They say some teen pregnancies happen when a partner manipulates the other in what they call reproductive coercion.

"They may not have control of their choices and the reason that they got pregnant may not be just because they didn't make the best choice, but they may be a victim," said Rebecca Podszus, Project Manager, Office of Attorney General

The grant project starts this year and continues through 2017.