Study: Indiana teen pregnancies down, child abuse deaths up

Published: Feb. 15, 2016 at 4:13 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Teen pregnancies dip while child maltreatment deaths spike. The Indiana Youth Institute released its annual "Kids Count" health report, highlighting trends impacting youth and adolescents.

Child Abuse and Neglect.

Indiana ranks among the top five states in terms of first-time child abuse or neglect cases. However, the Youth Institute found 90 percent of children did not report another maltreatment case within six months of the first incident.

"[We're] not exactly sure why that is, but it could be that the abuse and neglect is lessened. It could be the child is still being abused or neglected but is not being reported," said Glenn Augustine, CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute.

In 2014, every 20 minutes a child abuse/neglect case occurred.

Teen pregnancies down, risks remain high

The Indiana Youth Institute reports the birth rate for girls ages 15 to 17 years-old is at the lowest rate ever recorded. But, young moms and dads fend with more hurdles than parents age 18 and older. 80-percent of teen moms will receive welfare, at some point in their lifetime. Meanwhile, fewer than half will earn a high school diploma by the time they turn 22 years-old. Only one-third will nab a G.E.D. in the same time period. Teen fathers feel the cramp, with fewer graduating from high school compared to classmates without children.

The "Kids Count" report revealed girls ages 15 to 17 were most likely to use illegal drugs during their pregnancy, implicating immediate and future health problems for a child.

Nonetheless, the Youth Institute said a chat with a teen could be the pathway to preventing pregnancy.

"The main thing is having that conversation with your child, talking to them about the risks involved, not only with having sex at a young age, but also -- you know -- what can happen when you get pregnant," said Augustine.

Augustine adds if it's the right time, parents might consider a discussion about birth control.

The report showed a significant dip in the number of pre-teen/teen abortions: 943 (2013) versus 1,828 (2003).

Child care shortage

For licensed childcare facilities, there are 20 open slots per 100 Hoosier kids. About 4,000 licensed day-cares operate in Indiana. Despite the shortage, the Youth Institute estimates parents are carting their children to unlicensed places, such a family friend's home or a non-inspected daycare. It adds a disclaimer, saying those facilities may be safe; rather, they lack required inspections and quality assessments.

The report discusses child care affordability: it is cheaper to put toddlers and infants in licensed facilities than it is to find after school-centered programs.

Homicides: Double trouble in 2013

In 2012, 35 people between 1- and 19-years-old were homicide victims. The victim count nearly doubled in 2013 to 65 murders. The "Kids Count" report broke down the stats by race: homicide is the leading cause of death for black men between 15 and 24-years-old. It represents 61-percents of deaths for black teens versus 4.6-percent for white teens.

The study examined juveniles as perpetrators of homicides. It found young people mostly used guns to kill. Group violence is an alarming issue: groups were more likely to murder than individuals.

>b> Teen rate/dating violence

According to the Indiana Youth Institute, the Hoosier State has "the second-highest rate of forced sexual intercourse among high school girls" nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predicts roughly 1 in 6 Indiana high school girls has been a sexual assault victim -- that ratio trails Wyoming.

Legal intervention deaths

The Indiana Youth Institute defines this category as "an on-duty law enforcing agent injures a person in the course of arresting a law breaker, maintaining order, or other legal action."

In 2013, legal intervention deaths were the eighth-leading cause of death for people between 15 and 24. That same year, legal intervention was the fourth-leading mortality factor in black men, ages 15 to 24. Of the six victims in 2013, one was a white man, four were black men, and one man was of another race.

Vaccinations: Indiana trails the nation

Based on parent reports, Indiana has the fourth-lowest rate of vaccinated kids between 19 and 35 months-old -- the tenth-lowest rate of vaccinated 2 year-olds.

Mental health

Indiana children struggle with the following conditions more than elsewhere: behavioral/conduct; anxiety; and depression.The report reflects a "provider shortage," with there being one mental health treatment facility for every 750 Hoosiers. The dearth of providers is one per every 14,000, in some counties.

Substance abuse

Indiana is #1 in meth incidents nationwide. The 2014 busts (1,500) are lower than the previous year.

Nearly 1 in 6 high school students reports using drugs other than tobacco and alcohol in the past month, says the Indiana Youth Institute. Teens are most likely to drink alcohol and smoke e-cigarettes than abuse prescription pills, over-the-counter drugs, and harder drugs, such as ecstasy and hallucinogens.

To read the full "Kids Count" report, click the attached .pdf