H. B. 4591
(By Delegate Brown)
[Introduced February 17, 2012; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2E-3h, relating to the establishment of a pilot program for school age expectant mothers, developed by the State Superintendent of Schools and the State Board of Education.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2E-3h, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2E. HIGH QUALITY EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.
§18-2E-3h. West Virginia state pilot program for school age expectant mothers.
(a) The Legislature makes the following findings:
(1) Teenage pregnancy rates has been on the decline nationwide except in the State of West Virginia where, according to the latest statistics, the teen birth rate among fifteen to seventeen year olds increased by seventeen percent between 2007 and 2009;
(2) Research shows that without intervention, twenty-five percent of pregnant teenage mothers will have a subsequent pregnancy within two years;
(3) Teenage pregnancy is the leading cause of dropping out of school for adolescent women, has been shown to increase poverty and to start a downward spiral of events that can affect the mother and child for the rest of their lives;
(4) In 2008, the State of West Virginia spent $67 million dollars on services related to teen childbearing;
(5) Programs provided to teenage expectant mothers in other states, in particular in the state of Kentucky, have resulted in higher graduation rates, higher college acceptance rates, lower subsequent pregnancies, greater self-esteem of the program participants, improved parenting skills, increased knowledge and increased job skills;
(6) With increased services, expectant teenagers and teen mothers can complete high school and reduce the high school drop out rate, obtain a rewarding career or college degree, delay subsequent pregnancies and deliver babies at healthy birth weights who attain developmentally appropriate milestones; and
(7) Services contemplated by this section has the potential of saving the State of West Virginia $15 million annually.
(b) The purpose of this section is to provide for the development and implementation of a pilot program for school age expectant mothers and their children to initially be located in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, and to be established by the State Superintendent of Schools and the State Board of Education.
(c) Required components of the pilot program include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Countywide transportation for students and their newborn infants during the pregnancy and for not more than one year after the birth of the infant;
(2) Day care services for the infants, on site, during the school day;
(3) On site obstetrical and pediatric health services;
(4) On site prenatal and parenting education for teenage parents including instruction in the stages of child growth and development, methods for aiding in the intellectual, language, physical and social development of children and guidance on constructive play activities;
(5) On site therapeutic support group with oversight and leadership by a qualified clinical professional;
(6) An exemption from minimum attendance requirements for absences related to pregnancy or parenting except that student participants shall be required to make up all course work due to absence;
(7) Flexible scheduling to assure success in the pilot program in addition to attaining all requirements for graduation; and
(8) A minimum teacher student ratio.
(d) The state superintendent shall make status reports to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability and to the state board annually and may include in those reports any recommendations based on the progress of the pilot program that he or she considers either necessary for improving the operations of the pilot project or prudent for improving participant achievement.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish a pilot program for expectant teenage mothers.
This section is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.