League of Women Voters brings attention to adolescent pregnancy issue

Published: May. 22, 2018 at 9:57 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockford's adolescent pregnancy rate ranks as the highest in the state.

The League of Women Voters is trying to bring more attention to that problem by holding forums.

A forum was held Tuesday night, and a couple that became pregnant as teens spoke at the event.

"I was a little scared and nervous because, I mean, I didn't know anything about babies," said Nancy Delatorre.

As 17-year-olds, Nancy and Hugo Delatorre found out they were expecting.

"Your life just changes like that, and you don't know what to do," said Hugo.

The Delatorre's were lucky enough to get help from Easter Seals. Family Support Worker Kathy Stemm and others like her were there for the couple every step of the way.

"Many of them... have poverty, homelessness, they don't thave a home to live in, many of them... family, domestic abuse that they're going through. It can be lack of education," said Stemm.

"She taught me a lot of what stage - how big the baby was and stuff like that. The little things that I didn't know," said Nancy.

Maternal health is one of three main issues identified by the Winnebago County Health Department as areas that need work.

The League of Women Voters is organizing forums to educate the public on the problem and talk about possible solutions. They hope this can help families like the Delatorre's receive the education and attention they need to build healthy families.

"There is help out there; be open to it once people to recommend things to you and let yourself be helped by others," said Hugo.

The other two areas identified as problem areas in Winnebago County were mental health behaviors and violence. The county evaluates areas that need focus every five years.