Niagara Falls Deals with Teen Pregnancy

January 8, 2013 Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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January 8, 2013 Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, NY (WKBW) - The teen pregnancy rate in the Niagara Falls School District is second in the state -- only to Brooklyn.

To help those young parents, the district and a church are collaborating to open up a daycare near Niagara Falls High School.

At least 60 teens attending Niagara Falls High School are either pregnant or already parents.

Advocates say they are working hard to fight teen-pregnancy and help babies born to young parents.

With such a high rate of teen pregnancy, advocates want to keep kids that have become parents in school.

Rose Lynch, an administrator, says "one of the biggest challenges is close proximity daycare and transportation to school with baby in tow."

The near daycare center is just feet from Niagara Falls High School.

Even though numbers are going down, teen birth rates in Niagara County are well above the state average.

In one zip code in Niagara Falls, the teen pregnancy rate is 175%. The teen birth rate is 101%.

Donna Kuma says the Center for Young Parents "works with them very much on keeping their academics up so they can go to college."

The center sees kids as young as 12. It tries to teach parenting, academic and job skills.

Speakers also come as part of a prevention program.

Donna Kuma explains "Young moms and young dads come and talk to kids about what it's really like to be a parenting teen. It's not cute little clothes and so on."

Advocates say there are a lot of at risk children and teen in Niagara Falls. A lot of the city is hit hard economically.

One special program tries to help these at risk children and runaways.

Jeff Wierzbicki, with Family & Children's Services, says the agency tries to keep the family unit together.

It also brings speakers to talk to schools and at risk youth. Wierzbicki explains "A lot of our kids, they grow with families with teen pregnancy in them -- they're at risk already. Our speakers can talk to them about ways to break that pattern, or ways to change the pattern for their children."

The agency is also trying to create a shelter for teens with children -- but no place to go. The goal would be "to provide shelter that is no longer. It's transitional, so up to 18 months."

The future of that shelter depends on funding from the federal government, which remains in limbo due to the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling.