Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs. Community Socio-Demographic Characteristics

Two of the programs, My Choice, My Future! and Teens in Control, operated in rural communities; however, the communities differed markedly in their socio-demographic makeup (see Table II.2, upper panel). My Choice, My Future! served youth attending Powhatan County Public Schools. The county is about 40 miles west of Richmond, and many of the newer residents commute to the city for work. The median income of the county is above the national average, and a majority of the youth attending the school system are white, non-Hispanic and live in two-parent families. Teens in Control served youth attending selected schools in three county school districts near Clarksdale, Mississippi  Coahoma, West Tallahatchie, and Tunica. In contrast to Powhatan, there is no urban center near these counties and, despite some recent growth in Tunica, the median income remains well below the national average. Most of the youth attending the three school districts are African American and live in single parent households.


Table II.2.
Characteristics of the Communities and Youth Served by the Focal Programs
My Choice, My Future! ReCapturing the Vision FUPTP Teens in Control
Powhatan, VA Miami, FL Milwaukee, WI Clarksdale, MS
Socio-Demographic Characteristics
Mostly middle- and working-class, two-parent, white, non-Hispanic families. Semi-rural setting. Largely poor, single-parent, African American and Hispanic families. Urban setting. Predominantly poor, single-parent, African American families. Urban setting. Predominantly poor, single-parent, African American families. Rural setting.
Existing Health, Family-Life, and Sex Education Services(a)
Nine-week health and physical education class in 8th grade that did not include topics directly related to abstinence or STD risks. An additional health class in 9th grade covered abstinence, but did not cover STDs or contraceptive use. Mandated school curriculum for 6th through 8th grades, including a week-long unit on human growth and development; sixth grade curriculum covers STDs, abstinence, and drug and alcohol prevention. Mandatory family life curricula for K through 12; units on abstinence and contraceptive use beginning in 5th grade. Limited district-wide health, family-life, and sex education curricula for middle-school youth.
a This information was provided by school district administrators, school principals, counselors, and school health educators as well as state departments of education and school district websites.

The two other programs, FUPTP and ReCapturing the Vision, operated in two large urban settings  Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Miami-Dade County, Florida, respectively. In both cities, the schools served by the programs were located in low-income neighborhoods characterized by program staff as having high rates of poverty, teen pregnancy, crime, and deteriorating housing. Youth in these schools are predominantly African American, and most live in low-income households with a single parent.

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