The Massachusetts Adolescent Sexuality Education (ASE) program aligns with the MDPH’s Office of Sexual Health and Youth Development’s (OSHYD) key principles including use of nationally recognized best practices, comprehensive sexuality education, positive youth development, trauma-informed care, sustainability, and a commitment to health equity and racial justice. To address these principles, funded agencies implement evidence-based or evidence-informed programs that incorporate social determinants of health into program planning to achieve the overall goal of increasing life opportunities for youth. ASE programs are delivered in a variety of settings. These settings include schools, community-based organizations, young parent shelters and others.
The 16 funded community-based organizations serve priority communities that MDPH identified through a statewide needs assessment as having the highest teen birth rates, highest STI rates in youth, and/or the highest number of youth at risk. Within these communities, specific target populations include Hispanic/Latino youth, unaccompanied minors, African-American youth, LGBTQ youth, expectant and parenting teens, male youth, youth experiencing homelessness and sex trafficking, youth in or aging out of systems of care, and youth with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The OSHYD is deeply committed to increasing youth opportunities.
The goal of the statewide ASE Program is to increase life opportunities for youth by:
- Decreasing the teen birth rate among key target populations in priority Massachusetts communities through increased access to evidence-based education;
- Increasing educational attainment through promoting positive youth development and prevention of unintended pregnancies; and
- Decreasing sexually transmitted infection (STI) incidence among target populations in priority communities through increased access to medically-accurate, age-appropriate programming.
In FY17, more than 4,460 youth aged 10-20 completed 3 or more sessions of evidence-based/evidence-informed sexuality education programming and 8,750 youth completed 1-2 sessions of health and youth development programming.