Columbus City Council plans to approve funds to develop a community-based peer to peer education program for teens in Franklin County on Monday night.
CelebrateOne, a Columbus-based initiative that focuses on improving outcomes for pregnant women, will enter a $150,000 contract with Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio to start after-school programs in the fall addressing sex practices among teens.
Ohio ranks 23nd out of all 50 states for teen pregnancy, which is considered a contributing factor to infant mortality, according to CelebrateOne. This is because pregnant teens have a higher risk for having a baby born too small or too soon.
“The vision of CelebrateOne is that every infant in Franklin County, regardless of race, zip code or family income, celebrates his or her first birthday,” reads the Columbus City Council agenda. “Throughout Franklin County, too many babies, often born too small or too soon, die before reaching age one. In fact, every week in Franklin County three babies die, and tragically, African American babies are dying at two and a half times the rate of white babies.”
The city agenda item says addressing sex practices among teens will directly impact infant mortality rates.
Through the program, 50 teens will become peer educators, and will receive training to teach their fellow adolescents and engage the community in larger conversations surrounding sexual health.