The collective state and local abstinence education program experiences from across the country now constitute a sizable body of information to inform the dialogue over approaches to reducing teen sexual activity. The level of attention now focused on teen sexual attitudes, behaviors, and consequences should help determine how best to assist communities in selecting programs to meet their local needs. This attention can, as noted in the Charleston Post and Courier, create “a healthy dialogue among teachers, clergy, parents, health professionals and students to share experiences from each perspective and come to a consensus of what’s best for the children” (Lawrence 2001).
Getting the most out of these experiences depends critically on learning what impacts various approaches to abstinence education have for the youth they serve. The findings from the impact evaluation component of this evaluation will be critical to shaping the future policies and programs to best meet the needs and interests of youth.