Local News

Vance County Working To Lower Teen Birth Rate

Posted March 30, 2004

— Vance County's teen pregnancy rate is the highest in the state. It is a dubious distinction the county has held for the last several years. Now it is taking steps to stop the trend.

Fatay Williams, 17, wants all teenage girls to know there is more than meets the eye when it comes to babies.

"It's different when it's your own child," she said.

The high school junior gave birth to her daughter, Tyshe, four months ago. The hard-working student is now working hard to be a parent.

Raising a daughter has forced Williams to abandon her own childhood.

"I don't regret my baby. If I could change the hands of time, I wouldn't have had a baby," she said.

Williams is not alone. Two of her friends had their own babies within weeks of her delivery.

Students, teachers, and health officials met at Southern Vance High School Monday evening to talk about the pregnancy problem and possible solutions.

Experts say a lot of teens experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex after school when parents are still at work.

Meetings are a start, but Genevieve Ankeny, with the Granville-Vance District Health Department, says the county needs more educational programs. That means asking lawmakers for more money.

"We've started to apply for money through grants, but we need help," Ankeny said.

It is help Williams hopes will come long before her daughter faces the same challenges she did.

"I'll talk to her about what happened with me. I hope she won't do the same thing," Williams said.

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