Program promotes abstinence, supports pregnant youth

Program promotes abstinence, supports pregnant youth

Editor, The Commercial:

As a master of social work candidate, I have had the privilege of working with a diverse group of individuals on a variety of projects. I am most pleased to have worked as a program facilitator of a PREP program. The program has opened my eyes to the wonderful works that are taking places in communities around the United States.

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Act amended Title V of the Social Security Act to include the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). As a part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, Congress authorized the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP): the first federal funding stream for programs that teach about abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

According to Advocates for Youth, the PREP program targets youth ages 10-19 who live in rural areas or in geographic areas with high teen birth rates, or come from racial or ethnic minority groups. The program also supports pregnant youth and mothers under the age of 21.

While efforts to decrease the teen pregnancy rate in Arkansas have not gone unnoticed, we must continue to work diligently as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ranked Arkansas as the fifth state with the highest teen pregnancy rates in 2013.

In 2010 the Arkansas Department of Health received a PREP grant totaling $454,681. Allotted funds have allowed for students in Arkansas to receive evidence based programs targeting pregnancy prevention and delayed pregnancy at no cost to the state of Arkansas or Arkansas taxpayers.

The grant was designed to end in 2014; I am happy to share that it has been extended through September 30, 2015.

Elizabeth Newsome

Pine Bluff