State of Tennessee Press Release, Oct. 20, 2010:
Nashville – Governor Phil Bredesen today announced Tennessee has received a $1 million federal formula grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support evidence-based pregnancy prevention programming for high-risk youth. The Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination will use the funds to focus on adolescent youth in foster care.
“Teen pregnancy is a serious and growing problem in our state and we must continue to find ways to tackle this issue,” said Bredesen. “I am pleased this grant is driving prevention strategies among youth in foster care, a population that counts for many of the pregnant teens in Tennessee.”
The funded project, called the Tennessee Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), specifically targets foster youth, a population that faces multiple barriers to future success. Young women in foster care, already at high risk for many negative outcomes, are twice as likely to have a baby as those who are not in foster care. By age 17, nearly one-third of girls in foster care become pregnant at least once, and by age 19, almost one-half of girls in foster care become pregnant.
Core components of Tennessee PREP include:
- Pregnancy prevention programming using evidence-based practice from among those identified by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families
- Life skills & preparation for adulthood
- Foster parent and staff training to share pregnancy/STI prevention messages in alignment with evidence-based program
The Tennessee PREP Leadership Team will include:
- Department of Children’s Services: Well Being Unit and Office of Interdependent Living
- Department of Health: Office of Maternal & Child Health
- Department of Labor: Youth Planning Division
- Foster Care Alumni
- Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination
- Tennessee Center for Child Welfare
- Tennessee Commission on Children & Youth
- Volunteer Behavioral Health Plan
- Youth Villages
“Pregnancy only exacerbates the challenges young foster women face daily,” said Dr. Michael Warren, medical director for the Office of Children’s Care Coordination. “While we remain committed to supporting already pregnant and parenting teens, we know it is also important to implement pregnancy prevention programs for high-risk populations.”
The Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination is working with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, private providers and managed care organizations to collect data and develop a state plan that will be submitted to the Administration on Children, Youth and Families for additional funding for the program.
The planning grant of $1,012,182 million was awarded through the Personal Responsibility Education Program, funded under the Affordable Care Act and administered by the Administration for Children and Families. The funds must be used for programs that replicate evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention strategies and incorporate other adult responsibility subjects, such as maintaining healthy relationships, improving communication with parents, and financial literacy. The programs supported by states must incorporate lessons about both abstinence and contraception.
Tennessee is one of 46 states and territories to receive a PREP grant.
For additional information about the Personal Responsibility Education Program grants awarded by HHS, visit www.hhs.gov/news/.