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Off Balance: Reflecting on the Economic Impacts of Pregnancy in Aboriginal Youth

Keywords: teenacy pregnancy , early parenting , community economic development

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Abstract:

Many Aboriginal leaders are focused on holistic approaches to bring physical, mental, and spiritual health to their citizens, allowing them to participate fully in a community’s future. However, teen pregnancy brings specific challenges that need to be addressed if, indeed, children are the future of Aboriginal communities. This commentary looks at how the tools of community economic development (CED) can be applied to move young parents into positions from which they can participate in local economies. CED can be used to address contributing factors to teen pregnancies that are supportive of youth and appropriate to the community in question. Young parents need support to develop the necessary independence and resilience. This brings challenges to community leadership to take steps to encourage the development of healthy sexuality and lifestyles, and to provide the needed education, training, and other community supports. If youth are the future of Aboriginal communities, the cost of ignoring young parents and their children is much too high to ignore.

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