Last September, we hosted (along with our allies) a two-day conference about violence in the lives of Chicago girls and young women. As part of this event, Katy Groves & Chez Rumpf offered a workshop about our need to reframe the discourse on teen pregnancy.
Below is a description of their workshop:
Title: Baby College for All
Facilitators: Katy Groves (Youth Service Project) and Chez Rumpf (Center for Urban Research and Learning, Loyola University and Project NIA)
This workshop seeks to shift the framework around teen pregnancy and parenting. Pregnant and parenting teen girls often are pathologized as deviant young people who have become pregnant as a result of their personal deficiencies and problems. As such, services targeting these young women often attempt to “fix” or “reform” them through individual-level interventions. This workshop will engage participants in imagining ways to de-stigmatize teen pregnancy and parenting. Rather than frame teen pregnancy as a life-ending event that shoulders young women with insurmountable barriers, we will consider how to create structural supports for young mothers and how to cultivate a culture that places a high value on children.
Using a popular education approach, facilitators will lead participants through an activity to identify the current stigma and pathologizing discourse about teen pregnancy and to investigate the causes and consequences of this stigma. Through another activity, facilitators and participants will explore the historical evolution of this stigma. The workshop will close with a visioning exercise to develop concrete strategies to foster a sense of communal responsibility for children.
At the end of the workshop, participants will leave with:
• an understanding of the historical development of current discourses about teen pregnancy
• a critical assessment of these discourses
• ideas about how to create supportive environments for teen parents and their children
You can find an excellent resource list that they handed out to workshop participants here.