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Progress seen on teenage birth rate

Though it still has the second-highest teen birth rate in the nation, Oklahoma has made progress in recent years in lowering the rate of babies born to teen mothers.

As recently as 2010 there were 50 babies born for every 1,000 teenage girls in Oklahoma, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which annually produces a "Kids Count Data Book" that provides insights into the health and well-being of kids across the country. By 2015, that ratio had dropped to 35 per 1,000. (The national ratio reported in 2015 was 22 per 1,000).

According to Laura Lang, chief executive officer of Thrive, the Central Oklahoma Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the positive trend reflects efforts made especially in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas to address teen pregnancy, which had an estimated cost to state taxpayers of $169 million in 2010.

Lang said the teen birth rate in Oklahoma has declined markedly since 2010, when the Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP) was implemented in both Tulsa and Oklahoma counties. PREP added to and enhanced a comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention strategy already in place involving three key components:

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