What is Community Health Foundation’s Approach to Reproductive Health Education?
Community Health Foundation believes that the purpose of reproductive health education is to improve adolescent sexual health by reducing the incidence of risk-taking sexual behaviors in teens, lowering teen pregnancy rates, and reducing the number of sexually transmitted infections through comprehensive sexual health education, reproductive health care services and community-wide social change.
CHF’s Goals for Reproductive Health Education are:
- Build public support to realistically address the sexual health of youth;
- Engage youth in the process of improving their sexual health — from planning to implementation;
- Improve parent/caregiver-child communication about human sexual health.
CHF’s Programming Focuses on Five Program Areas to Impact Adolescent Sexual Health:
- Age appropriate, evidence-based and evidence-informed comprehensive human sexual health education to help youth develop healthy attitudes and behaviors;
- Training and resources to help parents communicate with their children about sex;
- Training for professionals who work with youth;
- Grant funding for non-profit organizations working to improve access and availability of comprehensive reproductive health education;
- Collaboration with community health and education providers to advance a positive vision of youth and their capacity to make responsible decisions about their sexual health.
Why has CHF chosen to use “Abstinence-Plus” or “Comprehensive” Curricula in its reproductive health education programming?
- Considerable evidence exists that comprehensive, scientifically-based programs which include both abstinence and contraceptive education help teens to:
- Delay sexual activity;
- Increase contraceptive use;
- Reduce number of partners;
- Reduce frequency of sexual activity.
In 2011, Wittenberg University’s Department of Psychology conducted local research to determine what local parents and students prefer for sexual health education. The findings are consistent with state and national research.
The majority of parents and students preferred that sexual health information be given by the primary caregiver, followed by schools. In addition, a majority of parents and students preferred a comprehensive approach to sexual health education.
Within schools, they preferred most topics to be presented first in middle school, with the exception of safe sex practices and pregnancy responsibilities.
Community Health Foundation approaches its work from a public health viewpoint, not from faith or values-based perspectives that are the purview of family and church. Abstinence and contraception are just two topics that are part of broad curricula available. Clients can choose from many topics that our educators are competent to teach in order to customize programming to the age and circumstances of their specific populations.
Community Health Foundation’s curricula and approach are consistent with 2008 draft guidelines developed by the Ohio Department of Health for Sexual Health and Adoption Education, and the research findings of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy that identifies characteristics of effective curriculum-based programs. (Emerging Answers, 2007, Douglas Kirby, PhD.) www.thenationalcampaign.org.
Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)
PREP is a holistic effort to transition foster care and juvenile justice-involved youth successfully to adulthood by training caregivers to provide educational programming. Youth are offered a 19-session curriculum with information focusing on four key areas:
- Healthy Relationships
- Prevention of Unplanned Pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Budgeting and Financial Literacy
- Job Seeking Skills and Career Exploration