In early July, dozens of adolescent health organizations - including SHIFT NC - received notification from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) funding for evidence-based programs and interventions will end on June 30, 2018. Originally designed to wrap up in 2020, the TPP was providing more than $37 million to serve well over 70,000 North Carolina youth with evidence-based health education and youth development services. National policy experts have noted that ending this program early is highly unusual.
Programs affected by this decision reach every corner of the state, and disproportionately affect youth at greater risk for unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. The cuts also impact ongoing research that would have provided new tools for helping young people. Programs affected include:
- SHIFT NC's North Carolina Youth Connected is helping Cumberland and Wayne counties develop large-scale community-wide initiatives to serve more than 50,000 youth and reduce teen pregnancy by 50% by 2020.
- NC Department of Health and Human Services is coordinating evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programming in Richmond, Graham, and Edgecombe counties.
- The New Jersey-based Center for Supportive Schools is rigorously evaluating a new model using high school juniors and seniors as peer mentors in rural high schools in North Carolina.
- SHIFT NC's Every Teen Counts initiative is building the capacity of foster care agencies and juvenile detention centers to improve teen health using trauma-informed principles and evidence-based programs.
- The Children's Home Society is rigorously evaluating their WISE Guys curriculum, which helps young men navigate relationships in healthy ways and avoid unplanned pregnancy.
- Cabarrus Health Alliance is rigorously evaluating Taking Responsible Actions In Life (TRAIL), a school-based program that promotes positive youth development, student leadership, and responsible decision making.
- MyHealthEd, winners of the highly competitive Innovate Next Design Thinking Challenge, have started developing the "Real Talk" app to help teens get accurate, tailored health information at their own pace.
What We Are Doing
In addition to making personal calls to our own representatives, our leadership team is working to develop and enact contingency plans to make sure that North Carolina has the resources it needs, has the programs it needs, and has the infrastructure it needs to help young people grow up healthy.
We will be working with our partners and supporters to help ensure that all of the adolescent health gains we've made together can continue.