2007/04/Impacts of Four Abstinence Education Programs

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The enactment of Title V, Section 510 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 significantly increased the funding and prominence of abstinence education as an approach to promote sexual abstinence and healthy teen behavior. Since fiscal year 1998, the Title V, Section 510 program has allocated $50 million annually in federal funding for programs that teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for school-age children. Under the matching block grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), states must match this federal funding at 75 percent, resulting in a total of $87.5 million annually for Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs. All programs receiving Title V, Section 510 abstinence education funding must comply with the "A-H" definition of abstinence education (Table 1).

In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress authorized a scientific evaluation of the Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program. This report presents final results from a multi-year, experimentally-based impact study conducted as part of this evaluation. It focuses on four selected Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs: (1) My Choice, My Future! in Powhatan, Virginia; (2) ReCapturing the Vision in Miami, Florida; (3) Families United to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (FUPTP) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and (4) Teens in Control in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Based on follow-up data collected from youth four to six years after study enrollment, the report presents the estimated program impacts on youth behavior, including sexual abstinence, risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other related outcomes.