Monday, December 14, 2009

Congress Passes Funding for Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative

/PRNewswire/ -- The United States Senate yesterday passed a package of spending bills for FY 2010, which included a historic new investment in efforts to prevent teen pregnancy. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill includes a total of $114 million for a new evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program. This funding is the first and only large scale federal investment dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy through proven, effective efforts. The House of Representatives approved the spending bills last Thursday, and the President is expected to sign it into law by Friday, December 18th.

The teen pregnancy prevention initiative provides $75 million for programs that have been shown through rigorous evaluation to positively affect teens' behavior, and $25 million for research and demonstration on promising models and innovative strategies. The provision also includes $10 million for technical assistance, training, and other supportive activities to assist the department in effectively running the program, and an additional $4.5 million for program evaluation. The funding will be administered by a new Office of Adolescent Health in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The initiative is very similar to what President Obama proposed in his FY 2010 budget.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC, released the following statement regarding the teen pregnancy prevention funding:

"We applaud leaders in Congress and the Administration for making teen pregnancy prevention a funding priority for the coming year," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

"Given the recent increase in the teen birth rate, it is more important than ever to invest in interventions with evidence of success, and the bill Congress has passed does just that. At the same time, the initiative also focuses on research and innovation, which will continue to grow the number of effective approaches available to states and communities, as well as help find fresh new strategies to prevent teen pregnancy.

"We look forward to continuing to work with Congress in the coming years to ensure that this critical issue remains on its agenda, and that this country continues the progress it has made on reducing teen pregnancy. We also look forward to working with state and local organizations to use the available funding in a timely and productive way."

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