By Veronica Helms
Intern, Child and Adolescent Health, AMCHP
The Office of Adolescent Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, currently provides grants to more than 112 organizations nationwide. Grantees focus on one of three adolescent health areas: teen pregnancy assistance, teen pregnancy prevention or HIV/ AIDS prevention. Two exemplary OAH grantees and their programs and highlighted below.
Austin, Texas: Teen Pregnancy Prevention
EngenderHealth, a global women’s health organization, implements the Gender Matters project in Austin, Texas. Currently, Texas experiences the third highest pregnancy rate in the United States. Gender Matters addresses teen pregnancy by transforming gender norms and gender expectations among young men and women. The five-year project targets 14-16-year-old youth enrolled in the Travis County Summer Youth Employment Program; 90 percent are African American or Latino and the majority reside in the 12 low income zip codes that account for 80 percent of the teen births in Travis County. With the goal of encouraging delayed age of sexual debut, increased use of effective contraceptive methods, and increased consistence and correct usage of condoms, Gender Matters employs three program components to achieve
those behavioral health outcomes and ultimately prevent unintended pregnancy and sexual transmitted infections (STIs):
- Five days of educational workshops containing 20 hours of curriculum with a focus on gender messages, healthy relationships, teen parenting, sexual decision making, and ways to prevent pregnancy and STIs
- Social media campaign that reinforces messages about healthy behaviors, gender norms, and peer support through text messaging and Facebook
- Community events that further highlight the messages from the workshop and social media campaign
Watch a 20-minute video overview of the Gender Matters project here.
Connecticut: Pregnancy and Parenting Teen Assistance
The Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens (SPPT) Initiative helps pregnant and parenting teens in five cities throughout Connecticut reach high school graduation. Currently, data indicates a high correlation between teen births and school dropout rates in Connecticut. The SPPT Initiative helps school districts develop comprehensive programs to assist pregnant and parenting teens and their children. Model components include flexible schooling options, case management, family support, referral programs, child care, transportation services, parenting and life skills services, home visiting, and father involvement initiatives. Evaluation of the SPPT Initiative at year two revealed significant outcomes and programs strengths:
- 80 percent of seniors enrolled in the program are on track to graduate or remain in school
- 90 percent of participants are receiving three or more of the comprehensive service components
- 85 percent of the children of parenting teens are up-to-date on their immunizations and well-child visits
- 90 percent of the children of parenting teens are meeting developmental milestones or receiving appropriate services to address developmental delays
If you are interested in learning more about current OAH grantees, you can search grantees by state, grant program or program model through OAH online database, and read profiles of select Pregnancy Assistance Fund grantees.