ACF administers two abstinence education programs—the Community-Based Abstinence Education program and the State Abstinence Education program. ACF’s abstinence education programs provide grants to community-based organizations, including faith-based organizations, as well as to States, to develop and implement abstinence programs. The Community-Based Abstinence Education program focuses on adolescents, ages 12 through 18, and targets the prevention of teenage pregnancy and premarital sexual activity. The Community-Based Abstinence Education program also supports a national public awareness campaign designed to help parents communicate with their children about health risks of early sexual activity. The State Abstinence Education program enables States to create or augment existing abstinence education programs and, where appropriate, provide mentoring, counseling, and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity, with a focus on those groups most likely to bear children out of wedlock. ACF expects that all grantees will present medically accurate information. ACF is requiring Community Based Abstinence Education grantees to certify that curricula are medically accurate and is conducting reviews for medical accuracy as part of the grant award process.
Within OPHS, the Adolescent Family Life Program (AFL) also supports abstinence education activities. Through Title XX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C., 300z et seq.), AFL authorizes two types of demonstration projects: (1) care projects to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative, comprehensive, and integrated approaches to the delivery of health care, education, and social services for pregnant and parenting adolescents and their families; and (2) prevention projects to develop, implement, and evaluate program interventions to promote abstinence from sexual activity among preadolescents and adolescents. AFL also places a strong emphasis on ensuring that educational materials are medically accurate.
OPHS, through an interagency agreement with ACF, has launched an initiative that focuses on the importance of parental communication. The Parents Speak Up National Campaign (PSUNC) is an educational campaign aimed at encouraging parents to talk with their children early and often about abstinence. This interactive campaign will include radio, print, and television advertisements to raise awareness. All PSUNC products direct parents to the 4Parents.gov Web site for further information and skills on talking early and often with their children about sex and abstinence. 4Parents.gov provides concise, helpful health information regarding the importance of parent-teen communication. The Web site also provides specific information on sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, benefits of abstinence from sexual involvement, drugs and alcohol, development of healthy teen relationships, and preparation for future marriage and family.
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