The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy

Signatory: Rachel Fey, Director of Public Policy

Join Date: December 2015

Contact: Rachel Fey

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The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy completed the following project:

Research to Inform Contraceptive Counseling for Providers Serving Communities of Color

The National Campaign conducted formative research to better inform health care providers who serve communities of color to counsel their patients on the full range of contraceptive methods, including the use of highly effective, low maintenance methods.  The work consisted of interviews with providers and a detailed literature review that lead to a set of recommendations for training doctors and other health care providers that serve women of color. Key findings included:

  •      Providers cited financial (lack of insurance) and educational (lack of knowledge, misinformation) as the most common barriers to women of color accessing and using the full range of contraceptive methods.
  •      Providers citing financial barriers pointed to those that do not qualify for insurance and those that have not signed up for insurance coverage through the ACA.
  •      Providers citing patient education barriers noted a lack of knowledge among young women about the different contraceptive options available to them and misinformation about methods.
  •      In spite of the conflicted history that women of color have with contraception, they desire to use more effective methods and public health efforts should identify culturally-sensitive and relevant mechanisms to provide them with access to these methods.
  •      In order to ensure that women of color are empowered to make decisions of their own volition, providers should inform them about the full range of contraceptive methods.
  •      Programs that improve provider education and training, and address bias are needed to ensure that the decisions of women of color are free of coercion.


The Following projects are in progress:

Black Church Toolkit

In partnership with Values Partnerships, The National Campaign is creating online resources that Black church leaders can use to engage their congregants. Black women faith leaders will play a key role and be featured prominently in the content that is developed.  The resources will include a web platform built around the development of a dynamic video and materials to create a message and narrative for the Black church. The website will be launched in January 2017 and will include the following:

  •      Landing Page featuring one 8-10-minute video that presents testimonies from clergy, lay leaders, teens, and young parents on the challenges related to unplanned pregnancy in the Black community; testimony on why the church should engage; the theology around engagement; the dangers of not getting involved; and practical examples of what leaders are already doing.
  •      Resource Page hosting print materials for black churches that desire to start conversations on teen and unplanned pregnancy within their congregation.
  •      Video Page with additional videos. The compilation video will feature highlights from interviews with Black church leaders and additional Campaign video resources for church leaders will be added here.
  •      Additional National Campaign Resources – existing Campaign material relevant to churches.
  •      Connection Page that will allow users to sign up for the National Campaign’s e-Gram newsletter.

Families Talking Together:

The National Campaign partnered with the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas to conduct a randomized control trial of an adaptation of Families Talking Together (FTT), an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program.  FTT has been adapted for delivery by community health workers (CHWs)/promotores de salud (promotores) and includes a module on the Affordable Care Act.  Over the course of three years, 650 Latino families with children ages 10-14 years olds in the Rio Grande Valley will be randomized into a control or intervention group.  In the intervention group, promotores deliver the FTT program which consists of face-to-face parent sessions, a family workbook which includes parent modules and teen materials, and homework assignments for parents and their teens (parent-adolescent communication activities).  The control group receives no intervention.  Approximately half of the families have been recruited for the study.  The primary outcome of interest is reductions in the percentage of youth reporting sexual debut among those receiving the FTT intervention relative to a comparison group receiving the standard of care.  In addition, the study will look at reductions in the frequency of sex among FTT participants relative to a comparison group receiving the standard of care and answer the question, are promotores an efficacious delivery mechanism for replication of the FTT program?

Foster Youth

The National Campaign has continued to support efforts to address teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention among youth in foster care—who are predominately youth of color. Currently, we are providing training and technical assistance in six (Duval County, FL; Marion County, IN; Miami-Dade County, FL; Orange County, CA; Travis County, TX; and 9th District Court of North Carolina) jurisdictions to juvenile and family court judges as well as their staff and other key stakeholders on the When You Decide: A Judges Guide to Pregnancy Prevention Among Foster Youth Toolkit.  This toolkit focuses on youth receiving from appropriate system stakeholders, the support, knowledge, and tools needed to make healthy long-term decisions regarding sex and reproduction.  We anticipate adding an additional six jurisdictions to this project in 2017.

In addition to our training and technical assistance project, we are also developing an innovative systems-level intervention to help support transition age youth in foster care (i.e. those age 16 to 21) avoid an unplanned pregnancy.  Specifically, using a human-centered design approach, we are seeking to answer the following question: How might we develop an intervention that allows transition age youth in foster care the opportunity to identify and achieve their reproductive health goals?  Currently, in-depth interviews are being conducted with transition age youth, child welfare front line staff and administrators.  These interviews will be used to inform development of the intervention, and we will also work with these same groups to prototype the intervention.

Research to Inform How to Best Reach Women Most Impacted by Unplanned Pregnancy

While the challenges faced by teens and women of color may seem intractable, the reality is that teens and young women themselves say they want the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to parent.  To learn more about how to provide teens and young women of color the information and resources to do just that, The National Campaign partnered with the Metropolitan Group, a social change firm, to learn more about the knowledge and attitudes of Latina and African American teen girls and young women, as well as their influencers about pregnancy planning and contraception.  The majority of the young women who participated in discussion groups convened in three regions indicated that they were not currently planning to get pregnant, but they expressed a sense of resignation that pregnancy “just happens”.  They believed that most of their peers were having sex, but not using contraception.  They viewed contraception as primarily the female’s responsibility, but cited their male partners as highly influential in their decision making. The researchers recommended using an empowerment framework focused on giving young women the power to decide their futures.  A full report, with recommendations and tested messages will be released in 2017 to help inform the work of national, state and local supporters.

Mapping Gaps in Contraceptive Access

As we look to close disparities in access to the full range of birth control methods, The National Campaign is building county-level heat maps, using data from our vast clinic network and other data sources, to map areas throughout the country where women have and do not have access to the full range of birth control methods.  We are using whether or not an IUD and the Implant are offered as a proxy for access to the full range of methods.  We are overlaying contraceptive access on a number of other indicators including poverty, women eligible for public assistance, and clinic to female population ratio.  We anticipate releasing these heat maps in fall 2016 to shine a light on the fact that despite heroic progress, millions of women – including many women of color — still lack ready access to the full range of contraceptive options.


Being a part of the Collaborative has been a tremendous asset to The National Campaign as we concentrate more intensely on reducing disparities in the rates of unplanned pregnancy among teens and young adults that persist.  As we focus our efforts on learning about new approaches and strategies that we need to take to ensure that all young people – no matter who they are or where they live – have the power to decide when, if and under what circumstances to get pregnant, the research, experiences and relationships born out of the Collaborative have proven to be invaluable.”

Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy


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