Sexual Health for Foster Youth Initiative
Early and unplanned pregnancy occurs more frequently among youth in or who have aged out of foster care. In fact, for these young people, the birthrate is four times higher than the statewide birthrate.
At Foster Forward, we are committed to providing teens with the support and guidance they need to make educated choices about their sexual health and well-being.
That’s why we’ve partnered with the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), the Rhode Island Council of Resource Providers (RICORP), and the Rhode Island Alliance (RIA) to participate in the Institute on the Prevention of Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infection Among Youth in Foster Care. The goal of the Institute, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, is to adapt the Making Proud Choices! sexual health curriculum for the foster care population and implement it in five states across the country. Rhode Island was selected as one of the five sites--along with California, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Minnesota--to implement the adapted curriculum.
In January 2013, we began piloting Making Proud Choices for Youth in Out-of-Home Care! with the young people in our Life Skills program. Youth who participate in the curriculum receive education on such topics as preventing early and unplanned pregnancy, protecting against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and promoting healthy relationships.
Support from all angles
In addition to piloting the new curriculum, with guidance from a statewide team that includes community-based organizations, child welfare providers, and health care experts, we are working to:
- Design and implement additional supports and resources to promote sexual health among foster youth, including educational programs for caregivers, adult mentors, and foster care and medical providers
- Address key policy issues that provide barriers to sexual health education and access to reproductive health care services for all Rhode Island youth, including those in foster care
- Track the success of the curriculum during its pilot phase and, based on the outcomes, expand its availability
Resources for Youth, Caregivers, and Providers:
For more information about the Sexual Health for Foster Youth Initiative, please contact Nicole Kenny at 401.438.3900 ext. 121 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.