The Teens Today 2006 Study involved both qualitative and quantitative phases. The study was initiated with a series of 12 focus groups held in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and St. Louis conducted on successive evenings March 13-15, 2006. The study also included a series of in-depth interviews (IDIs) with teens in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and St. Louis.

The results of the focus groups were used to instruct development of the quantitative research, a selfadministered survey conducted at 40 schools across the nation. The study involved a weighted total of 3,312 students overall to reflect a proportionate distribution of high school and middle school teens. The survey was administered in May and June 2006.

SADD, Inc. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) is the nation’s preeminent peer-to-peer youth education organization, with thousands of chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. With a mission of preventing destructive behaviors and addressing attitudes that are harmful to young people, SADD sponsors programs that address issues such as underage drinking, substance abuse, impaired driving, and teen violence, depression, and suicide.

Liberty Mutual Group is one of the largest multi-line insurers in the property and casualty industry. Offering a wide range of products and services, including private passenger auto and homeowners insurance, Liberty Mutual Group employs 39,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

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By Carmen Solomon-Fears

This report briefly examines some of the data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics on teenage childbearing, offers potential reasons for high teen pregnancy and birth rates, and provides basic information on federal programs whose purpose is primarily to delay sexual activity among teenagers and to reduce teen pregnancy.





This report encapsulates the main findings of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) Status of Youth Report (SYR), based on research conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on commission to the UYF. The SYR was based on a literature review, secondary data analysis, and a national survey of young people, aged 18 to 35, carried out in late 2003. The report contains a very large collection of interesting and important data, organised under a number of headings including education and skills development; labour market participation; poverty and inequality; youth and health; crime and violence; and social integration and civic engagement. Only some of these findings are reflected in this shorter document. The SYR is just one of the ways in which the UYF has interacted with the research community, of which the HSRC is a crucial part, in providing a sound foundation for the developmental and information work – designing and outsourcing job creation programmes, supporting existing youth initiatives, supporting capacity building for service providers – with which the organisation is engaged.
This short report has a different aim to the longer SYR. In particular, it relates the main findings of the study to the policy environment and to attempts, particularly by government and by government-supported bodies, to transform policy into practice. It is, therefore, both a report of research carried out, and a record of and commentary on the practice of youth development as it is evolving in contemporary South Africa with its strengths and weaknesses, its achievements and shortcomings. This report intends to make a case rather than simply to describe a situation. It comes from within the youth development community and, in a field where pessimism is rife, makes no apologies for highlighting what appear to be successful or potentially successful youth policies, not with the intention of handing out bouquets, or claiming easy victories where reflection and self-criticism may be more appropriate, but rather to identify what is working and to encourage more efforts along similar lines.

The main source for this document is the SYR, which is forthcoming as a separate publication. It also draws heavily on:

  • the proceedings of four workshops held from March to May 2005, attended by both UYF and HSRC staff as well as the Department of Social Development, the South African Youth Council, the National Youth Development Network and the National Youth Commission. These workshops covered a 2004 discussion paper by Fébé Potgieter, on the content and themes arising from the SYR titled ‘Towards the second decade of freedom: Issues and themes arising from the State of Youth 2003 Report’. Potgieter also chaired and facilitated the four workshops
  • a 2003 advocacy document written by the HSRC for the UYF by Linda Richter and others
  • a range of other reports, publications and conversations in the youth policy domain.

In this document, bibliographic references have been kept to a minimum, and footnotes have been entirely eliminated. For details of this sort, the reader is referred to the SYR.