The Ready or Not Tots Program is a collaborative effort between Jefferson County Middle Schools, the Jefferson County Health Department and the Prevention Policy Board to address the problem of teen-age pregnancy which has been and continues to be a serious problem for the individual, family, and community. The situation creates a complex web of psychological, health, social, moral, economic, educational, and juvenile issues. The problem of teen-age pregnancy creates a negative effect on current and future resources and the quality of life; not only on each individual teen-aged mother, father, and child, but also through local, state, and ultimately to the national level.
The Ready or Not Tots Program allows a registered nurse from the health department to go into area schools and educate 11 to 16 year old youth on the responsibilities of having children. The Ready or Not Tot is a state-of-the-art manikin that interacts with both positive and negative feedback. The doll cries for various reasons and requires care and attention 24 hours a day. The doll has an abuse indicator that allows the nurse to know if the doll was abused. The dolls are left in the care of the students for a period of one weekend and it is the responsibility of the student to provide care for the dolls during that time. The parents sign a permit allowing the students to participate in the project. They also sign a statement they will not help with the care of the doll. The dolls are picked up on Monday and evaluations and discussion take place at that time.
The ultimate goal of the program is to significantly decrease teen pregnancy in Jefferson County. This program also allows the Prevention Policy Board to create a comprehensive approach to lower the juvenile delinquency rate in Jefferson County by decreasing some of the risk factors in the lives of children that can lead to deliquent behavior. By attacking the issue of teen-age pregnancy and aiding in the decrease of risk factors that contribute to delinquency, Jefferson County continues to practice prevention and the comprehensive approach of addressing community concerns.
For more information about the Ready or Not Tots Program, contact Janet at (618) 244-7134.