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July 03, 2007

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All good points. I also wonder how much research exists or is in process to learn about each half of this youth population. Public policy is too often developed based only on face validity without empirical evidence, and significant resources are invested. Once we learn a model is flawed after such investment, admitting error is possibly the greatest barrier to reach our goals.

What is interesting is that if you go back and actually look at the study, they only research a narrow population. The researchers looked at 3 sites in depth. Of these, 2 were in very poor communities and only one was in a lower middle class community. As a result, there are a lot of other factors that might not have been considered in the study, but should be relevant. One might be availability of contraception in their neighborhoods or if it is, could they afford it? A sad thing is that programs that are successful in encouraging teens to be responsible don't do any good because a lot of families in these areas are on Medicaid, and Medicaid refuses to cover ANY form of contraception. So the end result is a vicious cycle where institutionally, public policy is perpetuating the plight of the poor by not giving them the resources to plan appropriately. The funny thing is that if these resources were available, it would save tax payers much more money as a preventative method instead of then having to pay to raise a child.

Either way a strong argument could be made that due to the demographics of the study, it is not representative of the national population and therefore missing many areas that might be more successful. The important point is stressing the involvement of parents in their child's life. Which again, may not be possible in the communities studied b/c families are typically single mother earners who don't have the time.

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