Participate in the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 5th!

It’s that time of year again, the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Those of us in the field know that every day has to be a day to prevent teen pregnancy—despite over a decade of decline, the teen birth rate is coming up again and there certainly is no time to rest on our laurels. what National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day gives us is an opportunity to reach out to people—parents, teens, community leaders and other stakeholders—who may not already be getting our message. It can highlight the successes we’ve seen over the years, and the challenges we still face. And, any time teen pregnancy is in the spotlight is an opportunity for parents and teens to openly talk about adolescent reproductive health, and that’s a good thing.

Many agencies and communities are planning events to celebrate the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. We want to highlight what you’re doing too. To get an announcement published in our e-newsletter, send information to jashlock@teennowcalifornia.org. And if you don’t have anything planned yet, consider doing something, even something small, to bring attention to the issue of teen pregnancy prevention. You could simply encourage people to take the quiz put out by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unintended Pregnancy, or you could sponsor a poster contest. You could put a banner on your web site announcing your support of the Day. There are many ways you can get involved, even this close to the day.

In 2009, over 450,000 teens took the National Campaign’s quiz, giving them an opportunity to think about how to protect themselves from becoming a parent too soon. There were media partnerships, contests, and other opportunities to get kids and parents involved in spreading a prevention message. This year the quiz is offered again, at www.stayteen.org.

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STD Awareness Month happens once a year, but STD Community Intervention Program coordinators work year-round

by Rosemari Ochoa, San Diego SCIP Coordinator 

Yesterday I received a call — a local peer education program director wanted more information about how to answer questions regarding STDs and racial disparities from a Forum I recently coordinated.  In the meantime, my call waiting flickered with another request. Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties was preparing a presentation for over 1,000 local community leaders and needed local, state and national STD data.  Within a few minutes, I was able to identify what they were looking for and link them with the resources they needed. As the STD Community Intervention Program (SCIP) Coordinator for the County of San Diego, I think that’s the easy part of my job. 

The STD Community Intervention Program (SCIP) has been a State of California-funded program since 1999 that aims to reduce the incidence of STDs among youth. To accomplish that goal, SCIP builds the capacity of local organizations serving youth to integrate STD prevention into their programs and services. So, what does this mean for community based organizations, schools, and other groups interested in reducing STD rates across the State?  It means that in many counties in California, you have someone you can contact with expertise about STDs information, education and materials — not just during STD Awareness Month, but year-round. 

As funding for STD prevention gets tighter and tighter, leveraging the amazing work of programs that already provide services in at-risk communities can be effective STD prevention. And SCIP tries to do just that.  For example, from July 2008–June 2009, I presented to 1,521 service providers on STD prevention, epidemiology, testing, and treatment.  Those presentations were tailored to meet the needs of each agency. For example, peer mentors learned how to answer difficult questions about STDs and clinic staff learned about minor consent laws for STD testing and treatment. Now, they can be the experts not only in their fields, but they have a strong working knowledge of what it takes to prevent STDs. 

Other SCIP activities included launching, in July 2008, a San Diego County-specific page on the website http://www.inspot.org, which provides information about STDs and helps people notify sex partners of an STD exposure, and organizing the CORE conference on teen sexual health in June 2009 that attracted over 25 participating organizations and nearly 300 attendees.  This year, on Thursday, June 17th, CORE is aiming to be better than ever.  Consider submitting a proposal for arts/cultural programming or a workshop and find more information here

So, whether it’s a data request call on a Tuesday morning or a daylong workshop or something in between, SCIP coordinators across the State work every day to ensure that people working in local communities have the tools they need to help prevent STDs.  

For information on San Diego SCIP, please contact the County of San Diego SCIP coordinator, Rosemari Ochoa, at rosemari.ochoa@sdcounty.ca.gov or (619) 293-4744. For more information on SCIP programs throughout California, including getting in touch with your local SCIP Coordinator, please contact scip@cdph.ca.gov.

New Report from the California Budget Project Shows Poor Pay More Taxes than the Rich

Especially in an election year, we hear a great deal about how government is bleeding the wealthy to pay for services to the poor–people who, according to political-speak, are burdens on the government. A new report from the non-partisan California Budget Project shows, however, that low-income Californians pay a higher percentage of their wages in state taxes than the rich. Wealthy Californians, the report says, pay about 7.8% of their wages in taxes, while the poorest pay 11.1% of their wages in taxes. While this talks only about state taxes, the picture is similar at the Federal level. In a report by Citizens for Tax Justice, it was shown that people in the lowest income brackets pay about the same amount of taxes in proportion to their income as people in the highest brackets. Interesting food for thought as we move through yet another season of venemous political rhetoric and scapegoating…

Parent Trainer Consultant Position Available

TeenNow California is looking for an experienced parent trainer to assist with the creation and implementation of a set of trainings designed to help parents become the first teachers of sex education. The position requires experience in developing and implementing training programs, knowledge of sex education methodologies and subject area, and an understanding of child development. Trainings will be conducted in the city of Riverside. To see the job description, visit our web site. Applicants should submit materials by May 1st, 2010.

TNCA is Looking for Partners to Seek Federal Funding

We’ve just released a very brief call for proposals for programs throughout California that are interested in applying for the Replication of Evidence-Based Programs FOA. We’re looking to fund between eight to 20 agencies, depending on the level of funding we apply for. TeenNow California will act as the lead so that partners can broaden the scope of their work, and we will pass-through the dollars to agencies providing direct services in the field. If your agency is interested in partnering with us on this project, please complete the very brief survey detailing the population you serve, the area you’re in, and your agency’s capacity to undertake this project. The deadline for submission is Friday, April 26th.

Office of Adolescent Health Funding Announcements, and How We Can Help

Last week the OAH released the first of at least two RFAs for teen pregnancy prevention, and yesterday it released the second. We sent out notices immediately to our list serve, but if you haven’t seen it. you can click on these links. The first RFA is for evidence-based programs, either for sex ed curricula or youth-development programs that have been proven effective at reducing teen pregnancy and/or significant related factors. A total of $75 million dollars will be disbursed for this program. The second is for research and demonstration programs to determine the effectiveness of other methods of preventing teen pregnancy, and will fund $25 million in programs across the country.

The proposal process is expected to be very competitive, with only 150 awards anticipated in the first tier and 45 in the second tier. In addition, the funding levels are quite high, and successful grantees will implement only one intervention. In other words, let’s say you apply for $400,000. You must spend all that money one only one intervention–either one curriculum-based program or one youth development program. That means you can really only serve one population. If you choose, say, Reducing the Risk as your intervention, you have to ensure that you can conduct that curriculum with enough high school students (the population for which RTR has been found successful) to justify getting $400,000. Because of these stipulations, many smaller, local agencies may have trouble applying for this money.

The RFAs stress that collaboration is desired, and TeenNow California wants to ensure that our state can capitalize on this money. To this end, and to help smaller agencies apply for the funding, we are considering forming a partnership to apply for the grant. We are in the process of developing an RFP to determine which partners would meet our project structure and goals, and will be releasing this in the very near future. We anticipate that we’ll be looking for between eight to 20 partners across California who are all planning to implement the same intervention with the same population. For more information, watch this blog, our web site, and our list serve, or contact us at 619-741-9650, tnca@teennowcalifornia.org.

In addition to this partnership, we are also available to provide assistance during the application process, and in the implementation process. Services we can offer include:

  • guidance on writing and editing your proposal ( we will not write the grant but can provide assistance on elements of the application, and we can review the proposals)
  • help with selecting the best intervention for your community and target population
  • assistance with creating a logic model
  • instruction on structuring appropriate goals and objectives.
  • serving as a fiscal agent for those agencies that need one

For successful grantees, we can provide:

  •  required training and technical assistance
  • evaluation services.

Anyone interested in discussing how to partner with us in any one of these ways, please contact us as soon as possible, as we can only collaborate with a limited number of agencies.

Cornell Alum Provides Interesting Take on Abstinence-Only Education

A recent graduate of Cornell University recently wrote an article on the Jemmott study, which recently reported that they had found that an abstinence-only curriculum taught to younger teens was effective at delaying sex. We’ve heard a lot about this study, and why it shouldn’t be taken to mean that ALL abstinence-only education is effective: the program in question didn’t impose morality, didn’t follow the A-H guidelines, was used with younger teens, etc. This is another piece to consider when filtering through the results of the study.