Teen-agers in foster care face unplanned pregnancies in alarming numbers, a measure at least in part of their insecurity and ignorance as well as society's indifference to them.
Many children in foster care have rebelled against their families. Some have no families, or have families so abusive that they must live apart. The sense of insecurity of all children in foster care is compounded for the increasing number who are adolescents, an age of searching for personal identity. All too often they are uninformed about sex, a contributing factor in the rising rate of pregnancy.
The Children's Defense Fund, a national child advocacy group, has recently issued a report on preventing pregnancy among teen-agers in foster care. For the last year on which good figures are available, 1984, almost 276,000 children were in foster care, the report said. Almost half were female. Almost half were minorities. Almost half were teen-agers.
Teen-agers form more of the foster-care population now because of increased emphasis on keeping smaller children with their families, because younger children are more likely to be adopted, because many states prefer that the child-welfare system rather than the juvenile-justice authorities deal with problem children and because single parents often have more difficulty dealing with teen-agers than with younger children.