Performance Improvement 2007. What Evaluations of the Family Planning Program Have Been Conducted and What Did They Find?



The project included three parts. The study identified, reviewed and synthesized published and unpublished evaluations relevant to the family planning program. The study also identified, reviewed and synthesized family planning indicators. Finally, the study assessed issues affecting family planning program performance and management at the regional, state, and clinic levels. This was achieved through interviews and focus groups with federal program staff who administered the program, grant recipients and family planning clients. This project was a collaboration between federal Public Health Service regional offices, which administer and monitor family planning service delivery grants (authorized by Title X of the Public Health Service Act), the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, and the Office of Minority Health.

The findings, including program needs and gaps, were summarized under three broad evaluation headings: scope, quality, and identification. Of the 68 evaluations reviewed, 2/3 focused on "supply level issues" (such as cost of delivering services and structural and operational factors of providing services) and the remainder focused on "demand-level issues" (such as service utilization and characteristics of those using or needing services). The published evaluations were superior to the unpublished studies. Problems identifying relevant evaluations limited the review. For each state, the researchers prepared a brief summary table of state-level data for the 1998-2002 period. Each summary included (for the nation, each region and for each state) the number of: women in need of family planning services and the number of all individuals using family planning. Regarding users of family planning services, each summary also identified, when available, distribution data regarding income, gender, age, clinic usage, and estimates of mistimed and unwanted pregnancy. All key informants agreed that the purpose of the program was to provide family planning services and prevent unintended pregnancies. Respondents agreed that the program addressed an important need for comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services in a manner that was not addressed by any other federal programs.

For both 1995 and 2000, over 16 million women were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies. Low-income women between 20 and 44 comprised over 2/3 of this population. Limited program funding is one of the most important factors preventing the program from addressing unmet needs among those unable to obtain or afford this health service. In general, there was strong agreement that the program's decentralized structure allows it to have a significant impact. Respondents identified low-income populations, the uninsured, and teens as the groups with the greatest need for subsidized family planning services.

Report Title: Review of the Title X Family Planning Program Evaluation Activities and Assessment of Current Evaluation Needs
Agency Sponsor: OPHS-OPA, Office of Population Affairs
Federal Contact: Panda, Pankaja, 240-453-2820
Performer: Research Triangle Institute; Research Triangle Park, NC
PIC ID: 8285

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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