Teen pregnancy rate in Tulsa sees decrease

TULSA, Okla. — Teens, parents and sex education are getting the credit for the decrease in Tulsa County's teen pregnancy rate.

FOX23 reported Thursday that they country's rate dropped by 20 percent between 2012 and 2013. Overall the state saw a 9 percent decline.

"It is more than we hoped for and a very pleasant surprise," said Kim Schutz.

Schutz said the teens in Tulsa are making good choices.

"I have to give credit to all the parents of those young people who are helping their kids do the right thing and make good choices and engaging with them and being open in their communication," Schutz said.

She is the executive director for the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Schutz explained that several agencies and schools have worked to get the teen pregnancy rates down 20 percent.

"The Carrera Program with Union and then Tulsa Public School stepped up in the last 3 years really and embraced this as an issue and embraced that it's our responsibility as a community to help people," Schutz said.

She explained where she sees weaknesses and what her organization will do to get the rate even lower.

"Access for teenagers who decide to be sexually active and want to protect themselves, get contraception.There are still some barriers around that. So those are things we would like to see improve," Schutz said.

Teen pregnancies cost Oklahoma tax payers millions of dollars a year. Research shows there is a big return on the investment in prevention.

"For every dollar of prevention you put forward, you have a $4 decrease of the amount you pay to deal with a birth to a teen," Schutz said.

Schutz hopes more parents come in the fall when her organization hosts orientations as schools about sexual education and they are working to provide parents with more tools for talking with their kids.

The Tulsa Health Department and Youth Services of Tulsa have also been active in the partnership to reduce teen pregnancy rates.