To combat teen pregnancy, ADHS uses multiple approaches that best fit with needs of local communities. Our Bureau of Women’s & Children’s Health has implemented teen pregnancy prevention programs since 1997 and currently administers the Abstinence Education Program and Comprehensive Education using lottery dollars and new federal funding authorized through the Affordable Care Act. The federal Title V Abstinence Education Program was reauthorized and funded through June 30, 2014 under federal Health Care reform. Arizona’s annual award is $1.3M.
The Healthcare reform law also amended Title V (of the Social Security Act) to include a new formula grant program entitled the Personal Responsibility Education Program funded through FY 2014. The program must be designed to educate adolescents on both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Our annual award is $1.1M for this new program. Lottery funds that ADHS receives (about $3M per year) for teen pregnancy prevention serve to meet federal match requirements for Abstinence Education and federal maintenance of effort requirements for the Personal Responsibility Education Program.
Local programs funded by ADHS implement evidence-based strategies, such as:
- service learning programs which focus on keeping young people constructively engaged in their communities doing community service;
- youth development programs that take a broad approach to encouraging young people to think and plan for their future;
- curriculum-based education that is offered as part of regular school classes or in after-school programs; and
- parent programs that seek to improve parent-child communication.
Parents are very important in preventing teen pregnancy. A public opinion survey, With One Voice 2010, recently released by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy provides some critical insight:
- Teens (46%) say parents most influence their decisions about sex. By comparison only 20% say friends most influence their decisions.
- Eight in ten teens (80%) say that it would be easier for teens to delay sexual activity and avoid teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about these topics with their parents.
- Six in ten teens (62%) wish they were able to talk more openly about relationships with their parents.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy offers great resources and tips for parents through its parent portal, including the new Talking Back publication identifying the top ten things that teens want adults to know about teen pregnancy.