Michelle Wade, director of Teen Services
Affordable housing and daycare for youngsters are needed to help young mothers, a charity has said.
Michelle Wade, director of Teen Services, said there were not enough low-cost rentals for people who do not make enough money to pay for family apartments. She added: “As I speak to you, Bermuda Housing Corporation is full — they don’t have any housing.
“The places that are for people not making a wage enough to pay for family apartments — we need more of that.
Ms Wade said more daycare centres like Happy Valley Day Care in Pembroke were needed in the west and east of the island.
She said: “You need one or two of them. It’s $400 a month and that’s much more feasible for those who are not making the money yet to survive.”
Ms Wade spoke to The Royal Gazette as the island marked Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. She explained: “The purpose of the national campaign was to lower the number of teen pregnancy by raising awareness of teen pregnancy prevention and providing teens and their families with the tools to address at-risk situations, so that if they find themselves in a bind, they are able to cope with getting themselves out or making wiser decisions.”
Ms Wade said statistics from Teen Services, the Maternal Health Clinic and the Department of Statistics had shown that teen pregnancy rates had fallen.
She said there were 12 pregnancies among girls aged 13 to 19 in 2017 and 20 the year before. Ms Wade added that the trend mirrored what had happened in the United States.
She added: “The national campaign has shifted the focus to unplanned pregnancies among teens and young adult women up to the age of 30 years old.
“It was concluded that unplanned pregnancies led teens and young women to make difficult decisions on many levels.
“And in the age group between 20 and 30, that is the group that really needs the attention because there are unplanned pregnancies and other risk factors involved.
“The statistics also showed that there were a higher number of sexually transmitted infections among persons between 20 to 29 years old.”
Ms Wade said Teen Services has marked teen pregnancy prevention month for 20 years
She said: “It started in the USA and New York in 1996. And then we joined forces in 1998.
“We did that because we noticed that there was an increase in the number of referrals for teen pregnancy.
“We decided that we maybe had to do something else, another outreach programme, to address that issue.”