The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Adolescents, due to early pregnancy and childbearing, experience significant educational losses leading to a lifelong loss of schooling.
(b) Although less than a quarter of California’s pregnant and parenting teen mothers use welfare as teenagers, over time they make up a significant percentage of the AFDC caseload. Half of all unmarried teen mothers go on welfare within four years of the birth of their children and 42 percent of all AFDC mothers began families as teenagers.
(c) In 1995, there were 123,240 pregnant and parenting mothers age 18 years and younger.
(d) Approximately one-quarter of teen mothers in California will experience a second or subsequent birth while in their teen years.
(e) The number one reason cited by females for dropping out of school is pregnancy and parenting responsibilities, although existing school data collection systems do not include the number of pregnant and parenting pupils enrolled in school nor the number who drop out of school due to pregnancy and parenting responsibilities.
(f) Eighty percent of females who become mothers before the age of 18 do not finish high school, and 40 percent of females who give birth by age 15 do not complete the 8th grade.
(g) Young women with poor basic skills, regardless of ethnicity, are five times as likely to become mothers before age 16 as are those with average basic skills, and young women with poor or fair basic skills are four times as likely as those with average basic skills to have more than one child in their teens.
(h) Teen fathers are at high risk of low educational achievement, as they are more likely to drop out of school to secure low-paying, unskilled jobs with little promise of future improvement.
(i) Children of teenage mothers have a greater chance of experiencing behavior problems during adolescence, engaging in delinquent or criminal activities, becoming sexually active at a young age, and becoming teen parents.
(j) School-based programs for pregnant and parenting teens and their children offering a wide range of educational and supportive services, including child care and transportation, which begin during pregnancy and continue after childbirth, have been successful in increasing school enrollment and high school graduation rates, and reducing the incidence of low birth weight babies and repeat pregnancies.
(k) School-based programs targeting pregnant and parenting teens and their children are often nonexistent or fragmented, have inequitable program funding, lack comprehensive integrated school-linked services, lack useful school data, and often have not been evaluated.