SHIFT NC

Research and Publications

"Don't Leave Us Out": Focus Groups Reflect LGBTQ+ Students' School Experience

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LGBTQ+ students often feel like their schools miss the mark when it comes to providing education and support, according to new focus group findings.

SHIFT NC has released a series of white papers based on focus groups conducted with LGBTQ+ students between 2019 and 2020. The series, "Don't Leave Us Out," detail how LGBTQ+ students experience school, and offer opportunities for schools to improve services. 

"Don't Leave Us Out" is based on input from students in Alexander, Burke, Catawba, Cumberland, Mecklenburg, Wake, and Washington counties gathered in-person before the COVID-19 public health emergency and then continuing via Zoom. Participants reflected on their experiences with sex education, as well as their broader experiences in the school environment. The resulting white papers focus on sex education, school policies, resources and support for staff and students, and schools' responses to anti-LGBTQ+ remarks and bullying, and offer guidance to help schools and advocates work to improve schools for LGBTQ+ students. 

Read the "Don't Leave Us Out" Series: 

"Don't Leave Us Out": Sex Education in North Carolina

"Don't Leave Us Out": School Policies in North Carolina

"Don't Leave Us Out": Resources and Support for Staff and Students in North Carolina

"Don't Leave Us Out": Responding to Anti-LGBTQ+ Remarks in the Classroom

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the young people who shared their experiences during these focus groups, and to the partners and host sites who helped make focus groups possible. Thanks to the Laughing Gull Foundation for funding this important research. Thanks to Dr. Bianka Reese, Tommy White, and Tania Connaughton-Espino for conducting this research and authoring the white papers, and to Miller Russell for designing the research in its initial phase. 

 

 

How Gaston Youth Connected Changed a Community - and New Lessons for North Carolina

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North Carolina has experienced record declines in its teen pregnancy and teen birth rates. However, many communities and many populations still experience disparately high rates of teen pregnancy and teen birth. In 2010, we launched a novel demonstration initiative to address teen pregnancy in Gaston County, North Carolina. The Gaston Youth Connected initiative took a multi-pronged approach to help the community address longstanding problematic teen pregnancy and teen birth rates by using an array of evidence-based approaches. After five years, the initiative resulted in significant health gains for Gaston County — and provided major lessons for how North Carolina can approach teen pregnancy prevention.

How Gaston Youth Connected Changed a Community - and New Lessons for North Carolina is a supplemental report on the State of Adolescent Sexual Health that details: 

  • Major components of Gaston Youth Connected and how they worked; 
  • Lessons learned that can serve other communities; and 
  • How North Carolina is building on the lessons of Gaston Youth Connected. 

Read How Gaston Youth Connected Changed a Community - and New Lessons for North Carolina

Acknowledgements: How Gaston Youth Connected Changed a Community – and New Lessons for North Carolina is based on the full Gaston Youth Connected final evaluation report by Joy Sotolongo. Special thanks to the Gaston County community, especially our partners and leadership team members. Thanks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for funding the initiative, and for providing guidance, technical assistance, and support. Thanks also to SHIFT NC staff who worked to make the initiative a success: Sally Swanson, Sarah Davis, Amanda Fuller, Michelle Reese, Joy Sotolongo, and Kia Thacker.

Safe Harbors: Safe & Supportive Housing for Pregnant & Parenting Adolescents

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About half of young parents involved in North Carolina's Adolescent Parenting Program say they need to live somewhere different. The top reasons? Safety, overcrowding, Read our Safe Harbors overview reportfamily tension, and the need for autonomy that comes naturally with both adolescence and parenthood. Unfortunately, North Carolina doesn't have the capacity to meet their needs right now. Housing options are few and far between - with costs and policies preventing more from opening - and too many existing options provide care that isn't supportive of pregnant and parenting teens' unique needs.  

Since 2012, we have worked to asses how well North Carolina is meeting the housing needs of pregnant and parenting teens. We have surveyed available resources, professionals who work with pregnant and parenting teens, and more than 250 teens to produce a series of resources that illustrate our state's severe lack of safe and supportive housing for pregnant and parenting adolescents. 

Housing Needs of Pregnant and Parenting Youth - A full report including information on:

  • the relationship between teen pregnancy/parenthood and homelessness,
  • types and availability of various housing options in North Carolina,
  • focus groups with parenting teens, and
  • key informant interviews with professionals in the field. 

Safe Housing Data Presentation - Information presented at our Safe Harbors Forum on March 20, 2015

Safe Harbors: Creating Safe and Supportive Housing for Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents - A publication with summary needs assessment findings and policy recommendations

Adolescent Health Advocacy Day Issue Papers 2013

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Note: In May 2015, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) became SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens).

 

On February 13, 2013, youth, parents, and youth-serving professionals from across North Carolina will visit the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh for Adolescent Health Advocacy Day. Youth will talk to their legislators about a range of  adolescent health issues. These issue papers have been developed by the 2013 Adolescent Health Advocacy Day planning committee: 

Student Well-Being and Mental Health

Access to Care

Teen Pregnancy Prevention

According to Math: Tackling Tough Numbers to Reduce Teen Pregnancy

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Note: In May 2015, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) became SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens).

According to Math: Tackling Tough Numbers to Reduce Teen Pregnancy examines the biggest issues North Carolina will need to address to reach the state's goal to reduce teen pregnancy 30% by 2020. Released in January 2013, the report is a benchmark addendum to the 2012 North Carolina State of Adolescent Sexual Health & Action Plan

According to Math: Tackling Tough Numbers to Reduce Teen Pregnancy

Lesson Plan: Knowledge to Action: Helping Teens Access Health Services

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Download Knowledge to Action: Helping Teens Access Health Services

Knowledge to Action: Helping Teens Access Health Services is a new lesson plan for use with evidence-based and promising programs. When added as an additional module, the lesson aims to help participants: 

  • Understand their rights to consent to medical services in North Carolina
  • Understand how to navigate health care systems and paying for health care
  • Practice setting an appointment
  • Practice talking to a doctor about their health needs and concerns

Knowledge to Action can be successfully implemented with both comprehensive and abstinence-only programs.