Nov. 9, 2011 - Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner Robert Doar, Health Department Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Youth and Community Development Department (DYCD) Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav announced today the launch of a new website created for New York City teens. The website called NYC Teen provides information on workplace training and employment opportunities while also providing easy-to-navigate pages on the most common health issues that affect teens including depression, pregnancy prevention and healthy eating. The site serves as a portal to government sponsored programs and services that can help make a positive difference in the life of a teen. To view the site, search “NYC Teen” on NYC.gov.
"NYC Teens is an excellent resource to help teenagers make responsible choices for their futures," said HRA Commissioner Doar. "The site's information sends a strong message that teens giving birth before they are ready to provide emotional and financial support, is not a good way to raise children."
“Many teens experience conflicts or crises, yet some can be reluctant to acknowledge their issues and seek help,” said Health Commissioner Farley. “NYC Teen speaks to them in their own terms. For example, it has ‘Real Talk’ videos with teen parents sharing their stories about the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood. We encourage teens to visit the site, take the interactive quizzes and polls, view the digital stories and learn how to get help or how to help a friend.”
“Teens have a lot of questions as they grow up and often turn to the internet to find answers, so I am very happy that they will have this website to access, which includes important information about health issues, job opportunities and relationships,” said Schools Chancellor Walcott.
“More and more, our young people are getting all of their information online,” said DYCD Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav. “NYC Teens will create a one stop shop for everything from jobs and internships to health and wellness. This website will help our young people access the services they need to become healthy and successful adults.”
One of the main features of NYC Teen is an up-to-date section on teen pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted infections. Pregnancy is the leading cause of failure to complete high school among teen girls, who are also much more likely to live in poverty. About 8% of NYC teens become pregnant every year with the vast majority of those pregnancies being unintended. The City is actively connecting young people with services that help them delay the onset of sexual activity and early parenting, most recently through the just launched Young Men’s Initiative which focuses on strategies to reduce health and social disparities, particularly among young black and Latino men. The message NYC Teen conveys for them is that is it is better to prevent parenthood until they are more emotionally and financially able adults, in stable, loving and committed relationships. In NYC, 36% of all reported female chlamydia and 24% of all reported male chlamydia cases are among teenagers. NYC Teen presents a straightforward discussion of abstinence, birth control methods, and the avoidance of sexually transmitted infections.
NYC Teen displays information on teen-oriented City government agency programs including:
Teen Sexual and Reproductive Health: The Health Department’s ‘Teens in NYC…’ clinic guide brings teens preferred referral sites for quality, confidential and free or low-cost sexual and reproductive health services, including condoms and birth control. The guide is available on NYC Teen, as well as in print and via 311. The No Kidding Program at HRA’s Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), brings real teen parents to NYC schools to inform teens about their experience as parents, and encourages them to delay pregnancy until they are ready. No Kidding’s peer mentors talk about their experiences in short video diaries on the site.
Teens can get medical and mental healthcare at little or no cost at the public hospitals and health centers run by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). Teens can be seen at Adolescent Health Centers in the public hospitals and large diagnostic and treatment centers, where reproductive and adolescent medicine is practiced.
Teen Parents: The Health Department’s Nurse Family Partnership provides home visits by a public health nurse for teens who are pregnant. Teens who are first-time mothers need to enroll before they are seven months pregnant, and can remain in the program until their child is two years old. The nurse provides ongoing education and support to help assure a healthy pregnancy and baby, and works with new moms to help them develop the skills they need to be successful parents and to reach their educational and employment goals.
HRA’s Family Planning Benefit Program (FPBP) is a public health insurance plan that covers contraceptives, pregnancy tests, and other family planning services. Qualification for FPBP is based on income and some other factors, but teens who do not qualify for Medicaid or Family Health Plus, can still qualify for FPBP.
Teen Mental Health: The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of New York City public high school students found that 28% of NYC teens felt so sad or hopeless that it interfered with their activities; 10% attempted suicide; 11% were bullied at school; 12% were bullied online; and 11% were physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. The ‘Feeling Stressed’ tab of the teen website offers teens an opportunity to learn more about these social, emotional and mental health issues while also finding the resources to get help, such as calling the 1-800-Lifenet line, which connects teens with mental health professionals.
Teen Relationship Abuse: Teen dating violence is much more prevalent than many parents think. HRA’s Domestic Violence Services provides useful information such as the different kinds of dating violence, warning signs it might be taking place, and instructions for getting help or getting involved with the RAPP program, now in 72 middle and high schools throughout New York City.
Teen Afterschool Activities, Jobs, Internships & More: DYCD is a comprehensive source for teens looking for quality information, referrals, and resources on afterschool programs, employment services, career exploration, and college preparation. Youth Connect, DYCD’s toll free confidential hotline enables teens to speak with a trained resource specialist who can assist them in accessing more than 6,000 community resources throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City in 187 languages and is accessible to persons who are hearing impaired. To contact Youth Connect, call 1-800-246-4646 or dial 311.