A National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Annual Report 1998-99. Community Collaboratives


The Community Coalitions Partnership Program and Girl Neighborhood Power! are two of the Department's cornerstone programs aimed at reducing teen pregnancy. Over the course of this year, the communities involved in these two programs progressed in their efforts to develop and maintain multi-sectoral collaborations responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating prevention strategies.

Since 1995, the CDC, through the Community Coalition Partnership Program for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy, has supported demonstration projects in thirteen communities with high rates of teen pregnancy (Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, San Antonio, San Bernardino, and Yakima). Moreover, eleven of the thirteen communities are actively working with Latino youth and Latino neighborhoods as part of their overall plan to prevent teen pregnancy. In Phase II of the demonstration, which began in 1997 and continues for five years, coalitions of local public and private agencies and organizations in communities are working on implementing their action plans, field testing promising interventions, building toward financial and programmatic sustainability of their programs, conducting site-specific evaluations, and participating in cross-site evaluations.

This year, each of the thirteen demonstration communities continued their efforts to develop and strengthen communitywide coalitions. They have continued to mobilize and organize community resources in support of comprehensive, riskspecific, effective and sustainable programs for the prevention of initial and repeat teen pregnancies. The communities are pursuing a wide variety of strategies to provide health, education, employment, recreation and other youth development services, programs and opportunities for youth and their families. Ongoing activities include: training for community leaders and neighborhood residents on community engagement and empowerment; the selection of intervention programs and components that address the documented needs and assets of specific neighborhoods; field testing of promising approaches; parentchild communication workshops; the development of youth councils; the use of health communications to enhance the planning and delivery of programs; the involvement of the faith community in planning efforts, and fund development to sustain programs.

Girl Neighborhood Power! — Building Bright Futures for Success (GNP), a
five-year national demonstration program that started October 1997, fits under the umbrella of the Department's Girl Power! campaign. Its several purposes include: (1) promoting the health and well-being of girls and young female adolescents between the ages of nine and fourteen; (2) preventing the onset of health risk behaviors among girls during their adolescence; (3) connecting girls and the communities in which they live and supporting the growth of girls' citizenship; (4) developing leadership skills in girls and young female adolescents; and (5) fostering communities' and neighborhoods' investments in their youth.

The first year of this project included efforts to invest in neighborhood site development, to strengthen coalitions, and to develop a common process to monitor activities across sites. On average, the four neighborhood sites of each community partner enrolled about 50 girls (at least 200 girls per community partner) during the first project year. The racial and ethnic composition of participating girls varied by community site.

Although each community partner's programming is unique, several common themes have emerged across sites in this past year. Each community partner has:

  • Developed mechanisms to help girls and their families identify physical and mental health needs, to enroll in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Programs, and to access appropriate health care services;
  • Convened an advisory council composed of girls;
  • Worked to help girls with their schoolwork and to feel connected to their schools (school success is protective against engagement in health risk behaviors and helps young people to thrive as adolescents and as adults);
  • Developed creative community service programs to enhance girls' connectedness to community, pride in citizenship, and leadership skills (examples include transforming a vacant lot into a community garden, gathering canned goods at Halloween ("trick or treat for others to eat"), developing public service announcements, and advocating for a Neighborhood Watch program); and
  • Incorporated field trips, which broaden girls' horizons, into its regular programming activities and developed sports programming activities to improve girls' opportunities for and attitudes toward physical activity.

In addition to these two programs that target teen pregnancy, in 1998 the Family and Youth Services Bureau announced the award of more that $1 million in State Youth Development Collaboration Projects. FYSB awarded funding to nine states to develop and support innovative youth development strategies. Each of the following states received a grant of $120,000: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon.

The grants will support efforts that focus on all youth, including vulnerable youth in at-risk situations. Youth development programs have been shown to promote youth self-efficacy, build competencies and encourage young people to delay child- bearing. Each state has designed a unique plan for implementing the project on the basis of identified youth needs and prior state activities with regard to youth development.