A National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Annual Report 1998-99. Building Partnerships


Building partnerships remains a critical aspect of the Department's National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. HHS is committed to sustaining current partnerships and creating opportunities for new partnerships to grow. Because HHS recognizes that each group and individual can make valuable contributions to prevention efforts, the Department is committed to involving a wide-range of partners in its work. HHS partnerships involve national, state, and local organizations; schools; health and social service organizations; business; religious institutions; tribes and tribal organizations; federal, state, and local governments; parents and other family members; and teens themselves. HHS seeks to develop partnerships among all groups and individuals concerned about teen pregnancy.

While valuing the potential of partnerships to increase cooperation, reduce duplication, pool resources, integrate services and ultimately, build communities, it is also important to recognize the challenges of developing and sustaining them. Partnerships, particularly at the communitylevel, take a long time to establish and require considerable energy to maintain. Reaching true community consensus on controversial issues is a difficult and timeintensive process. Collaboration is particularly challenging when partners come from different racial, ethnic, linguistic, religious, class and/or educational backgrounds yet it is exactly this crosssectional involvement that is the most valuable product of collaboration.