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

Beginning in fiscal year 1998, the Title V, Section 510 funding provided $50 million of annual federal support for abstinence education programs that teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for school-age children. In order to receive these grants, states must match $3 of every $4 contributed by the federal government, which results in a total of up to $87.5 million available annually. Upon receipt of federal funding, states have discretion over which programs to fund and at what level. However, all funded programs are required to be consistent with the "A-H" definition of abstinence education prescribed in the Social Security Act (Table I.1).


Table I.1.
A-H Definition of Abstinence Education
  1. Have as its exclusive purpose teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity
  2. Teach abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children
  3. Teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems
  4. Teach that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of sexual activity
  5. Teach that sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects
  6. Teach that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society
  7. Teach young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances
  8. Teach the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity
Source:  Title V, Section 510 (b)(2)(A-H) of the Social Security Act (P.L. 104-193).

Originally administered by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration within DHHS, the Title V, Section 510 funding is currently distributed to states by the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) in the form of grants. These grants are based on a formula that compares the proportion of low-income children in the state to the total number of low-income children in all states. Just two years after the start of the Title V, Section 510 funding, states had funded over 700 programs nationwide. Among the groups that received funding were community-based organizations, school boards, local health departments, faith-based organizations, universities, local coalitions and advocacy groups, consultants, research firms, health care organizations, and non-profit organizations (MCHB 2000). Congress reauthorized the Title V, Section 510 funding in 2002.

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