By Sharron Corle, MS
Associate Director, Adolescent Health, AMCHP
Maritza Valenzuela, MPH, CHES
Program Manager, Adolescent Health, AMCHP
As part of the Affordable Care Act, Congress authorized the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which is administered by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF). The program provides $55 million annually in formula grants to states and territories for evidence-based programs that educate young people on both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other adulthood preparation topics, such as parent-child communication, financial literacy and healthy relationships. Since 2010, 45 states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, have applied for PREP funds.
For more information on adulthood topics included in evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, see this document from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
States are using the PREP funds in a variety of ways. Below are some state-level examples.
The Utah PREP program is managed by the Utah Department of Health, Division of Family Health and Preparedness, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, Maternal and Infant Health Program. The Utah MCH program subcontracted PREP funds to local organizations through a competitive grant process. Six organizations were funded – four community-based organizations and two local public health departments. Program efforts target youth between the ages of 14-19 years, with a specific focus on youth in the Utah Juvenile Justice System; youth of Hispanic origin and/or non-white race; current teen moms; and youth residing in areas with birth rates higher than the Utah state rate. The funded organizations are all implementing one of the following evidence-based programs: All4You!, Be Proud! Be Responsible! Be Protective!, ¡Cuídate! or Teen Health Project. In addition to implementing one of the above mentioned programs, Utah PREP partners are required to cover the following three adulthood preparation subjects: healthy relationships, educational and career success, and healthy life skills.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is utilizing the PREP funds to develop a statewide project that will serve adolescents in one of the following: licensed psychiatric residential treatment facilities, licensed residential substance abuse treatment programs, residential programs serving delinquent youth (this includes residential programs serving delinquent youth licensed by the Department of Public Welfare Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF), OCYF Youth Development Centers and OCYF Youth Forestry Camps), licensed partial hospitalization or outpatient drug and alcohol facilities, and licensed partial hospitalization or outpatient mental health facilities. Fifteen PREP implementation sites have been selected and will provide education on abstinence, contraception and at least three adulthood preparation subjects: healthy relationships, adolescent development and healthy life skills by implementing one of two curricula: Rikers Health Advocacy Program or Street Smart. Funds will also be used to provide PREP implementation sites with training on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) cultural competency. PREP program effectiveness will be evaluated by an independent contractor.
For more information on what states are doing with PREP funds, click here.