[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 10-11-2011 by Res. No. 821-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Teen pregnancy is a crisis in Suffolk County and throughout the state and nation. Resolution No. 881-2009 established a task force to study the issue of teen pregnancy in Suffolk County and propose methods to decrease teen pregnancy in the short and long term. The Teen Pregnancy Task Force determined that teen pregnancy rates in the County are a result of a confluence of issues, including, but not limited to, drug and alcohol use, gangs, bullying, and education. The Teen Pregnancy Task Force has recommended the establishment of a permanent successor body to provide ongoing support, assistance and oversight to the County's continued efforts to decrease teen pregnancy.
The Suffolk County Teen Pregnancy Advisory Board is hereby created for the following purposes:
To address the barriers to preventing teen pregnancy, as identified in the report submitted by the Teen Pregnancy Task Force;
To establish focus groups to determine how these barriers intersect with other issues faced by community members;
To promote educational outreach on teen pregnancy and related issues;
To coordinate existing services for youth at risk of pregnancy;
To advocate for increased access to family planning services for sexually active youth;
To develop collaborative initiatives and program models to help young people, particularly those in marginalized groups, to avoid risky behaviors, including those that put them at risk of pregnancy;
To partner with existing state and federal organizations to leverage resources to address teen pregnancy;
To facilitate ongoing communication and collaborative grant funding efforts between direct service providers and municipal stakeholders to establish better coordinated partnerships among all service providers and create a long-term awareness of teen pregnancy services and programs available to the public;
To partner with libraries, youth organizations and other local organizations to distribute information on and links to teen pregnancy resources for teens and adult caregivers; and
To partner with community organizations to promote mentoring opportunities that include both adult-to-teen and peer-to-peer education and information exchange.
The Suffolk County Teen Pregnancy Advisory Board shall consist of the following 14 members:
A representative from the County Legislature, to be appointed by the Presiding Officer;
A representative from the County Executive's office, to be appointed by the County Executive;
A representative of a nonprofit teen sexuality and pregnancy education agency, to be appointed by the County Legislature;
A Suffolk County law enforcement officer, to be appointed by the County Legislature;
An early childhood or elementary school professional, to be appointed by the County Legislature;
A representative of a nonprofit drug and alcohol prevention and education agency, to be appointed by the County Legislature;
A secondary school professional, to be appointed by the County Legislature;
The Commissioner of the Department of Labor, or his or her designee;
The Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, or his or her designee;
A child welfare advocate, to be appointed by the County Legislature;
The Director of the Suffolk County Youth Bureau, or his or her designee;
A representative of the Youth Board Coordinating Council;
The Commissioner of the Department of Health Services, or his or her designee; and
A post-secondary school professional, to be appointed by the County Legislature.
The Chairperson of the Board shall be selected by a majority of the membership of Board.
The Board shall hold its first meeting no later than 30 days after the oaths of office of all members have been filed, which meeting shall be convened for the purpose of organization and the appointment of a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.
The members of said Board shall serve without compensation and shall serve at the pleasure of their respective appointing authorities.
The Board shall hold regular monthly meetings, keeping a record of all proceedings, and determine the rules of its own proceedings, with special meetings to be called by the Chairperson upon his or her own initiative or upon receipt of a written request therefor signed by at least eight members of the Board. Written notice of the time and place of such special meetings shall be given by the Secretary to each member at least four days before the date fixed by the notice of such special meeting.
Eight members shall constitute a quorum to transact the business of the Board at both regular and special meetings.
The Board may submit requests to the County Executive and the County Legislature for approval of the provision of secretarial services, travel expenses or retention of consultants to assist the Board with such endeavors, said total expenditures not to exceed $5,000 per fiscal year, which services shall be subject to legislative approval.
Clerical services involving the month-to-month operation of this Board, as well as supplies and postage as necessary, will be provided by the staff of the County Department of Social Services.
The Board may conduct such informal hearings and meetings at any place or places within the County of Suffolk for the purpose of obtaining necessary information or other data to assist in the proper performance of its duties and functions as it deems necessary.
The Board may delegate to any member of the Board the power and authority to conduct such hearings and meetings.
The Board shall cooperate with the legislative committees of the County Legislature and make available to each committee's use, upon request, any records and other data it may accumulate or obtain.
The Board shall convene annually a summit of organizations that work with teens, families and communities to move forward an agenda of community building and support for teens in the County of Suffolk.
The agenda of the summit shall address the recommendations of the report established by the Teen Pregnancy Task Force, as well as subsequent reports of this Board, and shall provide training workshops tailored to each of the following groups:
Medical professionals and support personnel;
Professionals who work with youth in non-health-related fields (i.e., librarians, scout leaders, foster parents, etc.); and
Other groups as deemed necessary, including train-the-trainer workshops for professionals who can reach out to others in their field.
The Board shall submit a written annual report of its findings and determinations for action, if any, to each member of the County Legislature and the County Executive no later than January 31 of each year, for the prior calendar year's activities, for consideration, review and appropriate action, if necessary, by the entire County Legislature.
None of the work contemplated by this chapter shall be performed by any outside consultant or consulting firm unless explicit approval and authorization for such consultant or consulting firm is granted pursuant to a duly enacted resolution of the County Legislature.