Teen pregnancy rates in the San Joaquin Valley are the highest in the state. They’re stubborn, too. After decades of effort, we’ve seen improvement, though not at the same pace as in other areas, such as Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

The Valley faces daunting challenges, including concentrated poverty and, often, a sense of hopelessness. The Valley’s sprawling, rural character makes it hard to reach teens and families with the multitude of services they need. Places in California that have made huge strides in teen pregnancy prevention tend to be population centers with a critical mass of teen pregnancy prevention efforts and the funding to support them.

False assumptions here can create a sense that teen pregnancy is inevitable. One stereotype, for example, holds that Latino parents don’t care if their daughters get pregnant. This simply isn’t true.