Hennepin County, Minnesota, Goes Beyond "Just Say No"

February 10, 2010

The Hennepin County Board on Thursday will hear results from a pilot teen pregnancy prevention project.

"Better Together Hennepin: Healthy Communities, Healthy Youth" involved about 3,500 parents and students in testing more than 30 different approaches to pregnancy prevention. Sites for the individual initiatives included schools, libraries, churches, and teen clinics. The target was teens ages 12 to 18.

County planners are expected to request $300,000 in federal funds to expand the pilot to other areas.

The report is the result of a three-year evaluation of teen pregnancy prevention initiatives in four areas: sex education, resources for parent communication about sex, youth development, and access to reproductive health services.

"Our focus is to promote smart investments," said Katherine Meerse, a planning analyst for the county. "We can spend a lot of money on things that don't work. But if we want to make a difference, we should invest in things that do work."

Several effective interventions were identified during the pilot:

  • Teen Outreach Program stresses self-esteem and community volunteerism. Over a nine-month period, condom use among teens who participated in the program increased 10 percent; condom use decreased 17 percent during the same timeframe among peers who did not participate in the program.
  • Making a Difference advances an abstinence-based education approach among eighth graders. Participation in the program increased the proportion of those who said they would avoid HIV/AIDS by not having sex, from 84 percent to 98 percent.

Hennepin officials are hoping the initiatives will help reduce the social costs of teen pregnancy in the county, which they estimated at $32.7 million in 2004.

Back to other news for February 2010

Adapted from:
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
02.07.2010; Tara Bannow

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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