CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A five-year gr ant awarded to at least three teen pregnancy prevention groups in South Carolina will be halted after three years.
Letters were sent to the gr ant recipients this month informing them of the shortened project period.
The CEO of SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy E.A. "Beth" De Santis confirmed the cuts and said $6.5 million per year total was originally awarded to South Carolina organizations.
The Mary Black Foundation in Spartanburg, The Children's Council in Lancaster and SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy were all gr ant recipients.
In total, "The Trump administration has quietly axed $213.6 million in teen pregnancy prevention programs and research at more than 80 institutions around the country," according to The Center for Investigative Reporting.
The organizations were informed funding will end on June 30, 2018 instead of June 30, 2020.
The groups tell Live 5 they are concerned about making up about $13 million in gr ant money their programs will no longer receive.
De Santis said SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy was specifically awarded $3 million of that $6.5 million per year in our state.
Their process involves assigning the money to community groups working in local in-need areas.
For example, said De Santis, they are partners with Charleston's Florence Crittenton Programs, which helps young, at-risk pregnant and parenting women.
According to its website, Florence Crittenton Programs of SC have served the state since 1897.
They "provide education, counseling services, medical care, social support, and a safe haven for young pregnant and parenting mothers in need.
We help our young clients develop the skills they need to become responsible parents and members of the community."
We've reached out to Florence Crittenton's staff to understand how the funding changes will specifically affect their efforts and will update you when we hear back.
The SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy also works with OCAB Community Action Agency in Orangeburg, HopeHealth in Florence and Carolina Human Reinvestment in Georgetown to name a few.
FULL LIST OF FUNDED PARTNERS: https://www.teenpregnancysc.org/our-impact/funded-partners
"Some of our local partners don't have the know-how or the time to write gr ants. That's one way we help," said De Santis. "It's been these communities taking on this work, addressing it with evidence-based programs. It's been hugely successful."
She said state first started tracking teen pregnancy in 1991.
There's been a 64% decline since then. De Santis attributes the decrease to evidence-based programs at the local, state and national level.
CHECK TEEN PREGNANCY RATES OVER TIME IN YOUR COUNTY: https://www.teenpregnancysc.org/county-info
"The major crux here is that teen pregnancy prevention works and saves taxpayers money. When the money goes away, the community that actually serves young people disappears. What will we have to educate them?" said Alvin Caughman, Chief Communications Officer for SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
He said the gr ant money is used to pay for things such as staffing, training materials, education, and transportation to camps and workshops for events such as peer educator training.
"It is so important the community understands the dynamic of impact of this decision is going to bring," said De Santis. "We have concerns about this work slowing down and possibly the downward trend of teen pregnancy reversing if education programs are not fully funded."
She said they do have other funding streams, such as from Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Duke Endowment and some state funding through DSS.
We also contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will share their response when we receive it.