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Teaching Florida teens essential life-skills for adulthood

Turning 18 is exciting, but also a bit scary. It is the door that opens the future to adulthood. The Children's Home Society of Florida does its part to prepare local teens for this significant milestone. Since 1995, their program, Teen Life Choices, has provided preventative teen-health lifestyle programs in St. Lucie County. It is just one of the many ways that their team is working with families to empower and encourage kids. The Children's Home Society of Florida is changing the face of foster care while positively impacting children and families' lives with a dedicated team and innovative technology. 
 
Through the Teen Life Choices programming, students explore topics such as self-esteem, healthy relationships and conflict resolution with a focus on healthy lifestyles and decision-making. According to the Children's Services Council (CSC) of St. Lucie County, in 2011 the "St. Lucie County [saw] a 70 percent reduction in the teen birth rate since 1990." Innovative programs like Teen Life Choices help reduce the local teen birth rate. 
 
In 2010, Teen Life Choices collaborated with Dr. Josie Weiss, FNP-BC, from Florida Atlantic University and the St. Lucie County School District. Together, they evaluated the effectiveness of one specific program, "Baby Think It Over" (BTIO). BTIO engages high school students in discussions about the potential physical, financial, emotional and social outcomes of teen parenthood. Dr. Weiss reported that "unlike many other programs, this BTIO intervention was successful in helping the participants recognize the costs of teen parenting." 
 
With the support of the MAXIMUS Foundation, Teen Life Choices continues to provide presentations to thousands of teens in St. Lucie and Indian River counties. They continue to connect with and offer presentations to all the local middle and high schools, as well as churches and youth organizations. For most students, the Teen Life Choices program is a wakeup call. The Children's Home Society of Florida has experienced tremendous success, but they are not finished building stronger tomorrows for youth and young parents in our communities!
 
To learn more about the Children's Home Society of Florida, visit chsfl.org.