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Advocates: Proposal To Help Teen Parents Graduate Will Help Metro Area

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By Kavitha Cardoza

Advocates for pregnant and parenting teens say a proposal to help these students complete their education will help in the Metro area. The teenage pregnancy rate in D.C. is more than twice the national average.

And Lara Kaufmann, with the National Women's Law Center, says Maryland and Virginia also have significant numbers of girls getting pregnant and parenting every year. She says if this bill is passed, federal grants would help pay for academic support, affordable childcare and health care. But Kaufmann says sometimes, helping these students graduate means implementing what's already on the books.

"In Montgomery County, they recently clarified this policy that student's absences should be excused when they are due to their children's illnesses or medical appointments, because some concerns had been raised about the inconsistent recording of absences of students who are parents," she says.

Kaufman says nationwide, only half of teen mothers have a high school diploma compared to almost 90 percent of their peers. The bill is expected to be introduced early July.


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