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In Brief: Federal Funding Streams for Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Sex Education, and Abstinence-Only Programs

Discretionary Funding
President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative
This program, which was first funded in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 at a level of $110 million, provides competitive contracts and grants to public and private entities to fund medically accurate and age-appropriate programs that reduce teen pregnancy and for the federal costs associated with administering and evaluating such contracts and grants. The initiative is administered by the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), working in cooperation with the Administration for Children and Families, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other relevant HHS agencies. The Initiative was funded at $105 million in FY 2011. The President requested $110 million for the program for FY 2012. The funding includes:
  • $75 million available for Tier 1 grants to replicate evidence-based programs that have been proven effective through rigorous evaluation to reduce teenage pregnancy, behavioral risk factors underlying teenage pregnancy, or other associated risk factors. OAH awarded 75 grants for Tier 1 in FY 2010.
  • $25 million available for Tier 2 research and demonstration grants to develop, replicate, refine, and test additional models and innovative strategies for preventing teenage pregnancy. OAH awarded 19 grants totaling $15 million in FY 2010.
  • The remaining $9 million supports cooperative agreements awarded by the CDC in partnership with OAH for community-wide teenage pregnancy prevention programs. Eight state and local organizations are funded to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative, multi-component, community-wide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on reaching African American and Latino/Hispanic youth aged 15–19. Five national organizations are funded to provide assistance and support to the community grantees.
  • $10 million for research, evaluation, and technical assistance.
Over 1,000 applications were submitted; however, OAH was only able to fund 100 grantees with available resources. Funded programs include teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease (STD), and HIV prevention programs which cover abstinence and contraception in addition to other topics; positive youth development programs, some of which include a sex education component; as well as some abstinence-until-ready and abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
Mandatory Funding
Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)
This program, administered by the Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) totals $75 million a year for the period 2010–2014. PREP provides young people with medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education in order to help them reduce their risk of unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs. Programs would also address life skills, such as healthy relationships, communication, and decision-making, so that young people can make responsible decisions and lead safe and healthy lives. This funding was authorized in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as health care reform. PREP includes:
  • $55.5 million is allocated for block grants to states that request the funds. Each state is allotted a minimum of $250,000. If a state does not submit an application for Fiscal Years 2010 or 2011 it will no longer be eligible to apply for funding, and the Secretary of the HHS will be able to award three-year grants to community-based and faith-based organizations and local entities in that state using the allotted funds for FYs 2012–2014. PREP’s state-grant programs are:
    • Required to provide evidence-based programs that provide information on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of unintended pregnancy and STIs, including HIV, and place a substantial emphasis on both.
    • Address at least three of the adulthood preparation topics: healthy relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy, parent-child communication, educational and career success, and healthy life skills.

43 states and the District of Columbia, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Puerto Rico applied for PREP in its first year and two additional states have already indicated they intend to apply for year two.

  • $10 million is allocated to develop, replicate, refine, and test innovative strategies to reduce teen pregnancy and repeat pregnancies among youth up to age 21.  ACYF awarded 13 Personal Responsibility Education Innovative Strategies (PREIS) grants. 
  • $3.5 million goes to Indian tribes and tribal organizations.
  • The remaining $6 million in funds are for program evaluation and support.
Title V Abstinence-Only Program
This program, administered by ACYF, which had expired on June 30, 2009, and at that time had been refused by nearly half of the states both because of its restrictive nature and the fact that overwhelming evidence has proven such programs to be ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars. The program was reauthorized in recent health care reform legislation. The extension provides $50 million a year for failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs from 2010–2014. The formula grants to states for abstinence-only programs and mentoring, counseling, and adult supervision programs that promote abstinence.
While the guidance issued for the FY 2010 funding announcement makes the program more flexible than it has been in previous years, funded programs must continue to teach abstinence to the exclusion of other topics and may in no way contradict the A–H federal definition for “abstinence education.” They are prohibited from providing complete information about contraception or condoms for the prevention of unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other STIs. Despite its increased flexibility, only 30 states and Puerto Rico applied for Title V abstinence-only funding in FY 2010.
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