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Budget cuts threaten program for pregnant and parenting teens in Philadelphia

The ELECT (Education Leading to Employment and Career Training) program in Philadelphia is under threat from budget cuts. ELECT is helping about 1,000 pregnant and parenting teens finish high school and start building a solid future for themselves and their children.

When Quentina Fields found out she was pregnant – at 17, a junior at Bartram High School – the news was so disorienting, it felt as if it were happening to someone else.

"Like out of a movie," she said.

Teachers took Fields to the school ELECT program, which helps pregnant students and young mothers stay in class and graduate.

In November, Fields gave birth to a son. And in June, bolstered by parent training and academic tutoring, she accepted her diploma.

Now the future of ELECT has grown hazy.

"Program for pregnant students has unclear future" – Philadelphia Inquirer

The program will probably not be eliminated, but may be scaled back. Nationwide, about 60 percent of girls who have children while in high school drop out. Without programs like ELECT, girls in high school who get pregnant face bleak prospects — and strong incentives for abortion.