Use of millions in federal funds for adolescent sexual health programs remains a mystery, report shows
For Immediate Release
March 21, 2019
Contact: Zach Eisenstein
Phone: (202) 265-2405 ext 3330
(Washington, DC) – Today, SIECUS released the 16th edition of the SIECUS State Profiles—an annual publication that details federal funding for adolescent sexual health promotion programs, as well as abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, across the country.
Typically, the report provides information that reveals how federal funds for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) and the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), as well as abstinence-only (or so-called “Sexual Risk Avoidance”) programs, are distributed across each state. The State Profiles also provides data related to individual grantees of these programs as well as the types of curricula they offer.
However, this year’s report is different. Federal funding data surrounding PREP is not included. This covers State PREP, Tribal PREP, Competitive PREP, and the Personal Responsibility Education Innovative Strategies Program (PREIS). Despite multiple attempts to receive this public information, the use and recipients of these dollars, totaling $75 million in fiscal year (FY) 2018, remain completely unknown.
“Funding for certain programs has always been a little opaque, but this lack in transparency for an entire program is alarming,” Dercher said. “This information is vital to our ability to track federal funding that directly impacts adolescent sexual health. With this data, advocates and policymakers alike can understand how their states use these funds, identify trends in policies that impact youth, and help ensure the best possible outcomes for young people.”
This year’s State Profiles also documents the current legal battles surrounding TPPP and notes that the Trump administration has yet to clarify how $19.4 million in TPPP Tier 1 funding are being spent in alignment with congressional intent for the funds.
“For 16 years, SIECUS has worked to provide the public with all relevant information on federal funding for adolescent sexual health promotion programs in our annual State Profiles. While this year’s report still paints a valuable picture of the state of sex education across the country, the missing program data raises serious questions about how these funds are being used,” Dercher said.
TPPP, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health, was created to support evidence-based programs and innovative approaches to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and promote the overall sexual health of young people. However, the Trump administration has illegally tried to use TPPP as a way to direct additional funding towards ineffective, shaming abstinence-only-until marriage-programs, violating congressional intent for the program.
PREP, a program administered by HHS’ Family and Youth Services Bureau, provides grants to implement programs that provide complete, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education to help reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STIs. Funded programs must be culturally appropriate and responsive to the needs of sexually active young people.
“As we advocate this year for the future of these vital programs, questions remain about how these valuable dollars are being allocated. We’re committed to ensuring that these funds are being used to advance the sexual health and well-being of young people. That’s what Congress intended. And that’s what our nation’s youth deserve,” Dercher said.
The FY 2018 edition of the SIECUS State Profiles includes individual profiles for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the outer United States territories and associated states—intended to serve as a resource for individuals working to advance sex education across the country. Highlights include:
- 21 states do not require sex education or HIV/STI instruction to be any of the following: age-appropriate, medically accurate, culturally appropriate, or evidence-based/evidence-informed.
- Only 4 states require health education instruction to affirmatively recognize different sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions (SOGIE) or affirm the dignity and worth of all people, regardless of SOGIE.
- 7 states explicitly require teachers to portray LGBTQ people negatively in health education instruction or prohibit teachers from mentioning LGBTQ people.
- Only 6 states require sex education or HIV/STI instruction to include information on consent.
- Only 2 states require student instruction on sex trafficking.
- 32 states require schools to stress abstinence when sex education or HIV/STI instruction is provided.
- Only 7 states require culturally appropriate sex education and HIV/STI instruction.
- 31 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education.
- 16 states require instruction on condoms or contraception when sex education or HIV/STI instruction is provided.
To view the FY2018 edition of the SIECUS State Profiles, visit siecus.org/state-profiles-2018.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) has served as the national voice for sex education, sexual health, and sexual rights for over 50 years. SIECUS asserts that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. We advocate for the rights of all people to accurate information, comprehensive sexuality education, and the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice inclusive of sexual and reproductive rights.