Date: Thursday, May 1, 1997
Contact: HHS Press Office (202) 690-6343
HHS CHALLENGES COMMUNITIES TO INVEST IN THE FUTURES OF GIRLS AND BOYS
Overview: Today Secretary Shalala announced the availability of two new grant programs for communities to develop innovative approaches -- one targeted to girls and other to boys -- to prevent teen pregnancy and promote responsible behavior. Both grant programs build on the Clinton Administration's comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention strategy and one also supports the Department of Health Human Services (HHS) Girl Power! public education campaign.
Building Bright Futures For Girls
As part of HHS' Girl Power! public education campaign, HHS will offer a total of $1 million in grants to communities to build public-private partnerships to promote healthy behavior, increase confidence and prevent teen pregnancy and other risky behaviors, such as smoking and drug use, among girls 9 to 14 years old.
Focusing on Young Girls: Recognizing that girls experience adolescence differently than boys and that 9-14 year old girls are particularly vulnerable to negative influences, loss of self confidence and mixed messages about health risk behaviors, the projects will address the critical and unique needs, interests and challenges of this age group.
Offering a Comprehensive Approach: The projects will take a comprehensive approach by addressing teen pregnancy prevention as it relates to other risky behaviors and within the overall context of health promotion, self confidence, motivation and opportunity.
Building Partnerships: By building strong partnerships with parents, schools, communities, youth groups, religious organizations, media, health providers, businesses and local governments, the grant projects will demonstrate how communities can work together to improve the health, education, and well-being of young girls and their families.
Promoting Volunteerism: Responding to the challenge of the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, the projects will utilize community volunteers to serve as mentors to the girls, to encourage the girls to get involved in community service and to spread the messages of delaying sexual activity, staying in school and preparing for the future.
Expanding The Message To Boys and Young Men
Recognizing that a comprehensive strategy to prevent teen pregnancy and promote responsible behavior must also target boys and young men, HHS announced the availability of $1 million in grants to organizations already working with males to add a family planning component to their existing programs.
Helping to Develop Long-Term Strategies: We do not know enough about what influences a boy's and young men's decisions about abstinence, sexual activity and fatherhood. Similarly little is known about what family planning/reproductive health services are appropriate and effective for males. Therefore these projects will be critical in developing long-term strategies at the federal, state and local levels for including boys and young men in teen pregnancy prevention and family planning efforts.
Focusing on Safe and Responsible Behavior: The projects will focus on developing and testing approaches to providing family planning services to males; ensuring that adult males send the message of abstinence, responsibility and health to young men and boys; and involving males in building community support for teen pregnancy prevention and respectful relationships.
Offering a Wide Range of Services: The projects will provide educational services, counseling, outreach to males and their families, clinical services and public information on family planning/reproductive health issues.
Utilizing Existing Resources: Utilizing the best available resources, the grantees will work in partnership with federal, state, local and community-based health and social service agencies to educate males about health decision-making and family planning.