CDC: Teen Pregnancies Rise In Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

CDC: Teen Pregnancies Rise In Nevada

Tom Henkenius
Channel 2 News

Nicole Victorine has one month left to cram before she becomes a Mom.

Eight months ago, at 17 she admits she was no where near ready. A life without direction had led to drugs and what she calls "poor choices."

But, expecting a baby has turned her life around, "It's helping me live a better life and I'm getting ready to have a baby and be a mom and be better than who I was."

Finding direction, according to new research, is one of the primary reasons teens are becoming pregnant.

Valerie Luevano is the executive director of Casa De Vida in Reno, a home for pregnant teens. She says teen pregnancy is more than just a debate about abstinence-only sex education. "A big part of it is it's a sense of fulfillment. It gives meaning and identitfy to a life - sometimes for a lot of women that's spiraling out of control."

So it's no surprise to her that in a down economy, more teens are becoming pregnant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that after 14 years of large declines in teen birth rates, the numbers went up in 2006 and 2007. The report places Nevada among the 10 largest significant increases.

Luevano says the way to reverse the trend is to encourage young women to set goals for themselves. "If we are very concerned about teen pregnancy then we need to get in with our kids early and give them something to care about, and something to look forward to in the future."

Exactly what Casa de Vida has done for Nicole. "I'm working on my GED right now and once I get that I'm going to take classes to be an elementary school teacher."

She knows it won't be easy, "but I'm willing to work at it."

And, because Casa de Vida works with girls who are already pregnant they hope instilling that sense of purpose will also prevent future unplanned pregnancies.

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