Better Together Hennepin

Better Together Hennepin

In just eight years, Better Together Hennepin has achieved a 52 percent decrease in the teen birth rate. This decrease outstrips the overall national decline. However, more work needs to be done in targeted communities where teens remain at risk.

Better Together Hennepin provides programs and services and works to change systems so all young people in Hennepin County can access: 

  • Sex ed
  • High-quality reproductive health care
  • Healthy youth development opportunities
  • Connections to caring adults

Helping teenagers put off parenthood makes good social and economic sense. Young people who wait to become parents are less likely to live in poverty and better able to pursue their dreams. Children born to adult mothers are at lower risk for infant death, childhood health problems, developmental delays, and school struggles. Postponing parenthood can help break cycles of poverty. 

Every year, a new crop of kids become teenagers and start facing important life decisions. They need the supports Better Together Hennepin provides.

Investing in our young people is paying off. Federal funding has allowed Better Together Hennepin to expand services across the county and serve communities with the highest teen birth rates. 

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An effective approach to teen pregnancy prevention

Sex ed, reproductive health services, connections to caring adults and healthy youth development opportunities help all young people postpone parenthood until they are adults. Not all young people have equal access to these supports. Better Together Hennepin funds programs and works to change systems to increase access to these vital resources.

Equalizing access for youth

Teen birth rates are much higher in some areas and among certain populations. In North Minneapolis, the rate is almost 21 times higher than in Edina. View map of Hennepin County birth data.

African American, Latina, Native American and youth of Asian/Pacific Island descent have much higher teen birth rates than Caucasian youth. In addition, youth in foster care, young people involved in the correctional system, LGBTQ youth and runaway and homeless youth are at higher risk for teen pregnancy.

Better Together Hennepin provides broad-based programming to reach as many young people as possible in the geographic areas with the highest teen birth rates. Better Together Hennepin also supports programs that are culturally specific or located in special settings, such as juvenile detention and centers for runaway and homeless youth.

Changing systems

Better Together Hennepin works to increase long-term access to youth-friendly, evidence-based programs and services. Better Together Hennepin provides consulting services, training and technical assistance to school districts, health care providers, and community-based organizations, so they can more effectively meet the needs of young people.

Funding evidence-based programs

Better Together Hennepin funds programs that are scientifically sound and proven to reduce teen pregnancy or behaviors that lead to teen pregnancy. 

Programs include:

  • Comprehensive sex ed in school
  • After-school programming
  • Culturally specific programs for adolescents and parents

Read more about evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Information for clinics

Clinics that provide high-quality, adolescent-centered sexual health care play a crucial role in preventing teen pregnancy. Young people have unique needs that require special services and programs. Better Together Hennepin helps clinics create the best possible outcomes for adolescent patients.

Better Together Hennepin works with your clinic 

Better Together Hennepin convened an advisory board of local experts to develop standards of care for adolescent sexual health care. These standards form the measure of best practices that Better Together Hennepin uses in working with clinics.

Better Together Hennepin’s MyClinic staff will work with you to assess your current practice and provide training to help you strengthen your ability to serve adolescents.  

To get involved with MyClinic, contact Katie Miller at katie.miller@hennepin.us.  

Safer Sex Intervention  

The Safer Sex Intervention is a clinic-based program that pairs sexually active young women ages 13 to 19 with a health educator for one-to-one counseling. This evidence-based program builds their skills and knowledge and helps them develop their ability to avoid risky sexual behavior.

Better Together Hennepin funds and supports the delivery of the Safer Sex Intervention in communities with the highest teen birth rates. 

Testimonials

"I have grown confident in saying "No" to sex when I don't want it, taking extra care of my sexual health." 
– Participant from The Annex Teen Clinic  

I will practice safe, safe sex ALWAYS! and not just sometimes, because I know more about it."
– Participant from Red Door Services of the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic

We’ve seen an increase in visits for family planning services, as well as more motivation to adopt healthier sexual health behaviors." 
– Barbara Kyle, School Based Clinics Manager, Minneapolis Health Department

Current partners

Better Together Hennepin works with these clinics to provide the Safer Sex Intervention:

  • Annex Teen Clinic
  • Brooklyn Center Health Resource Center
  • Fremont Clinic
  • Henry High School, school-based clinic
  • Planned Parenthood Richfield Clinic
  • Red Door Services of the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic
  • Roosevelt High School, school-based clinic
  • South High School, school-based clinic

For more information about the safer sex program, contact Emily Scribner-O’Pray at emily.scribner-opray@hennepin.us.

Programs in schools

Preventing teen pregnancy supports academic achievement and higher graduation rates. Schools that offer evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs provide tools that can help their students succeed in school.

Better Together Hennepin helps schools provide programs through funding and partnerships with community-based agencies. We work with schools to select and implement programs that meet the unique needs of their students. Programs are offered in communities with the highest teen birth rates.

Testimonial

"I've seen how teen pregnancy can derail our students' academic goals. Better Together Hennepin has been an invaluable partner in helping our students stay on track and succeed." – Mark Bonine, Superintendent, Brooklyn Center Community Schools

Current partners

Better Together Hennepin currently works with these school districts and charter schools:

  • Augsburg Fairview Academy
  • Brooklyn Center Community Schools
  • Loveworks Academy
  • Minneapolis College Prep
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Odyssey Academy
  • Osseo Area Schools
  • Richfield Public Schools
  • Robbinsdale Area Schools
  • Sojourner Truth Academy

For information, call Kathleen Wick at 612-543-3020 or email kathleen.wick@hennepin.us

Funding partners

Preventing teen pregnancy requires funding from foundations and individual donors, in addition to public investments. These additional financial supports allow Better Together Hennepin to increase health equity, reduce generational poverty and maximize human potential.

Investing in teen pregnancy prevention pays off in healthier babies, school readiness, increased high school graduation rates, workforce readiness, and greater self-reliance. Programs and services that prevent problems are underfunded, compared to reactive services. But we know that getting ahead of the curve is more fruitful in achieving positive outcomes for children and youth.

Read more about the public costs associated with teen pregnancy. The public costs of teen pregnancy (PDF)

Read more about how policymakers and private funders allocate money for youth programs in Hennepin County:

Current funding models (PDF)

In 2014, Better Together Hennepin and Youthprise launched a public-private partnership to broaden, deepen and sustain the county’s teen pregnancy prevention infrastructure. Youthprise combines funding, capacity building, policy advocacy, research and youth engagement so all Minnesota youth thrive. Learn more about Youthprise.

Better Together Hennepin and Youthprise are seeking allies. With your help we can continue to drive down the teen birth rate and help our children and youth reach their full potential.

To join our effort, contact Kathleen Wick at kathleen.wick@hennepin.us

Results

Better Together Hennepin has improved the lives of young people in our community. Since 2007, Better Together Hennepin has served more than 23,000 youth and families. With our support, young people have engaged in less risky sexual behavior. More parents and children are talking about sex, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Decrease in the teen birth rate per 1,000 females 15-19 from 2007 to 2015:

  • Hennepin County:  58%
  • Minnesota:  65%
  • U.S.:  46%

Number of babies born to females 15-19 in Hennepin County:

  • 2007:  1,170
  • 2015:  477
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