Wellness briefly

Taxpayers’ cost $16 million in 2010 for teen births

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Teen childbearing in North Dakota cost taxpayers at least $16 million in 2010, according to an updated analysis from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. For the nation overall, teen childbearing cost taxpayers $9.4 billion.

Most of the public sector costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences often experienced by the children of teen mothers, during both their childhood and adolescent years. This includes costs associated with public health care (Medicaid and CHIP), increased participation in child welfare, and, among those children who have reached adolescence and young adulthood, increased rates of incarceration and lost tax revenue due to decreased earnings and spending.

Between 1991 and 2010, there have been 14,412 teen births in North Dakota, costing taxpayers a total of $400 million over that period. These public-sector costs would have been higher had it not been for the substantial declines in childbearing. North Dakota has seen a 19 percent decline in the teen birth rate between 1991 and 2010. The impressive strides made have saved taxpayers an estimated $6 million in 2010 alone, compared to what they would have paid if rates had not fallen.

The National Campaign is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families by preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy. Visit (TheNational

Campaign.org) to find out more information.

Aging Services to hold Belcourt public hearing

BISMARCK – The N.D. Department of Human Services’ Aging Services Division is holding a public hearing on Tuesday, May 13, in Belcourt, to gather comments about programs and services that help elders and adults with physical disabilities remain living in their homes and communities. The public is invited to participate in the hearing at 12:30 p.m. at the Turtle Mountain Retirement Home, at North Dakota Highway 5 and St. Ann’s Road in Belcourt.

Comments will help the agency identify the priorities and services the state supports with federal Older Americans Act funds. In federal fiscal year 2013, programs funded by the OAA served about 23,300 North Dakotans age 60 and older including 108 elders from the Turtle Mountain reservation. Turtle Mountain elders mainly benefited from senior meals and tribal home visits that help connect elders to needed available services. The Aging Services Division has a contract with the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa to provide these services.

The Aging Services Division also funds these statewide services that are available to elders: the toll-free information phone line 855-462-5465 and website, senior legal assistance, assistive safety devices like grab bars and seat lifts, senior employment and training, and dementia care services. The department has a memorandum of understanding about protective services for vulnerable adults. Older Americans Act Title VI funds are received directly by the tribe and used to provide home-delivered meals and family caregiver support services.

Public hearing sites are accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals who need auxiliary aids to participate or who have questions should call the department’s Aging and Disability Resource LINK toll free at 855-462-5465 or ND Relay TTY 800-366-6888. Individuals unable to attend the public hearing can submit written comments by May 15 to the N.D. Department of Human Services’ Aging Services Division at 1237 West Divide Ave., Suite 6, Bismarck, ND 58501.