Reaching High-Need Youth Populations With Evidence-Based Sexual Health Education in California

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Abstract

Objectives

To explore the programmatic reach and experience of high-need adolescents who received sexual health education in 3 distinct implementation settings (targeted-prevention settings, traditional schools, and alternative schools) through a statewide sexual health education program.

Methods

Data are from youth surveys collected between September 2013 and December 2014 in the California Personal Responsibility Education Program. A sample of high-need participants (n = 747) provided data to examine the impact of implementation setting on reach and program experience.

Results

Implementation in targeted-prevention settings was equal to or more effective at providing a positive program experience for high-need participants. More than 5 times as many high-need participants were served in targeted-prevention settings compared with traditional schools. Reaching the same number of high-need participants served in targeted-prevention settings over 15 months would take nearly 7 years of programming in traditional schools.

Conclusions

To maximize the reach and experience of high-need youth populations receiving sexual health education, state and local agencies should consider the importance of implementation setting. Targeted resources and efforts should be directed toward high-need young people by expanding beyond traditional school settings.

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