Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs. Introduction

Authorized under the Social Security Act of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), the Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program was one of the legislative centerpieces that increased both the funding and visibility of abstinence education programs. Since fiscal year 1998, the Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program has allocated $50 million annually for programs that teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for school-age children. Under the matching block grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), states must match this federal funding at 75 percent, resulting in a total of up to $87.5 million annually for Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs.

In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress authorized a scientific evaluation of Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs. The resulting multi-year evaluation included two major components. The first was an implementation and process analysis that documented the experiences of the organizations and communities that applied for and received the block grants authorized under Title V, Section 510. The second was a rigorous, experimentally based impact evaluation designed to estimate the effects of selected Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs on teen sexual abstinence and related outcomes.

This report presents the behavioral impact findings of four selected programs that received funding through the Title V, Section 510 grants:

  1. My Choice, My Future! in Powhatan, Virginia;
  2. ReCapturing the Vision in Miami, Florida;
  3. Families United to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (FUPTP) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and
  4. Teens in Control in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Like most programs supported by the Title V, Section 510 grants, these four programs all served youth in school settings, usually in the upper elementary or middle school grades. All programs offered more than 50 contact hours and lasted for one or more school years, making them relatively intense among programs funded by the Title V, Section 510 grant. One of the programs, FUPTP, served youth on a voluntary basis in an after-school setting. The other three programs served youth in classrooms during the school day much like any other course, although ReCapturing the Vision augmented these classroom-based services with a number of extracurricular offerings.

This report examines the impact of these programs on teens' sexual abstinence, their risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and other behavioral outcomes. The report is based on survey data collected in 2005 and early 2006В  four to six years after study enrollmentВ  from more than 2,000 teens who had been randomly assigned to either a program group that was eligible to participate in one of the four programs or a control group that was not.

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