The Family Resource Centre is launching a new programme called “I’m Worth the Wait” to help curb teen pregnancies.
Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing Dwayne Seymour said that while the centre’s Young Parents Programme had been successful in arming young parents with the skills to bring up their children, a dedicated programme would be launched to try to cut down on the number of teen pregnancies in the Cayman Islands.
“In spite of its success, and no matter how many other great programmes are available, the ministry recognises and understands that teen pregnancies are at the root of an issue in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Seymour said. “While it is important for teenage mothers to acquire the tools needed to raise a happy … healthy family, our efforts in prevention allowed a more holistic approach to unplanned pregnancies.
“Therefore, under the theme ‘I’m Worth the Wait’, the Family Resource Centre will create an educational campaign to address this growing social issue,” he added.
During a weekly Cabinet media briefing last week, Mr. Seymour said: “This campaign will encourage teens to think about their future and how an unplanned pregnancy can impact that. It will allow them to commit to wait to have sex and exercise self control. It will encourage them to move away from having sex be what defines them.”*
While the programme is geared to encourage abstinence, it will also educate teens about the use of contraceptives, the minister said, adding that he acknowledged that some parents may take issue with their children being taught about contraception.
“There’s still a lot of work to do in terms of educating the parents as to the benefits of contraceptive and sexual information so that they can be better prepared to interact with their children about this situation. We need to do a better job in terms of educating the parents as to the effects because they feel that their children are too young to discuss different aspects. Definitely, education and awareness are the important factors in solving this problem,” he said.
The programme will involve staff of the Family Resource Centre giving presentations to students and parents in high schools, at parent-teacher meetings and at Health Services Authority meetings. Mr. Seymour said it would include interactive activities, focus on self-worth, peer pressure and misconceptions about sex and empower teens to make “positive choices in bad situations”.
Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin pointed out that he did not believe there was “any credible study that showed that when you talk about contraception to children that that increases sexual behaviour”. “I believe that’s a myth,” he added.
He said people had to “be real about the world we live in” and it was important that children be armed with “all the best possible advice”.