Targets: Reduce Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
Target-setting is a powerful way to change the course for the future. Instead of staying the present course, leaders can commit to achieving better results for children and families by setting a measurable target with a specific time for accomplishment.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy set a 10-year goal to reduce the teen pregnancy rate by one-third, to 43 per 1000 girls aged 15-19 by 2015. Governors of 29 states set their own targets as part of this effort, including Utah (20 percent), Oklahoma (33 percent), and Georgia (15 percent).
The Michigan Governor’s Blue Print for Preventing Unintended Pregnancies (PDF) predicts that reducing the number of unintended pregnancies by 10 percent would save the state over $27 million in Medicaid expenditures annually.
New Mexico Challenge 2010. The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Teen Pregnancy Coalition set a goal to reduce the teen birth rate by 15 percent between 2000 and 2005, and challenged (PDF) counties to reduce the teen birth rate by 20 percent in the same timeframe. By 2005, 14 out of 33 counties met the target, and the statewide birth rate declined by 11 percent. In 2006, New Mexico renewed its effort with Challenge 2010 (PDF), aiming to reduce the teen birth rate by an additional 15 percent by 2010.
Questions to Consider
What target is a fair and realistic expectation?
What do the trend and projection data indicate is an appropriate achievable target?
How will local targets be incorporated, if at all, into the state target? What support can the state give to local entities to set and achieve targets?
How will the target be used?
o As inspiration for mobilizing public will and action?
o As a benchmark for measuring progress?
o As standards for performance and accountability?
How can you prevent targets from being misused for punitive purposes?