Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy® provides girls and young women with the skills, insights, values, motivation, and support to postpone sexual activity, and to use effective protection.
Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood present formidable challenges for teens’ development into productive and fulfilled adults. Although the nation’s teen pregnancy rate declined throughout the 1990s, sexually transmitted disease rates have increased among young women. The United States still has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and teen births among industrialized nations. While communities and policy makers search for effective strategies to address adolescent sexuality issues, most youth and parents say that teens need more comprehensive information relevant to their lives—and they need this information sooner rather than later. Programs and efforts that deliver such information need to pay particular attention to gender-specific issues, because young women have specific needs in managing sexual relationships and because they deal most directly with the consequences of teen pregnancy.
Young women who participated in one or more components of Girls Inc. Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy were significantly less likely to become pregnant than nonparticipants (5.9% versus 12.3%). Young women who participated in most sessions of one or more components were less likely to initiate sexual intercourse and more likely, if they had sexual intercourse, to use contraception. Investment in Girls Inc. Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy is cost-effective. Quality implementation of Girls Inc. Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy results in monetary savings to society as well as personal benefits to young women who postpone pregnancy past their teen years. A minimal estimate of the savings to society is approximately $9,000 per pregnancy prevented or delayed. Girls Incorporated and its subcontractor Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. conducted the Girls Shape the Future Study, a rigorous longitudinal evaluation of the effectiveness of the Girls Inc. Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy program at helping girls delay sexual intercourse, avoid pregnancy, and stay in school.