FOCUS Program: Decreasing Repeat Teen Births

Not all births to teens are first births.

Last year in Southwest Florida, 134 teens gave birth to a second or sometimes a third baby, representing 16% of all teen births in our region, compared to 18% nationally.

A special program is needed to address the unique needs of teen mothers with the goal of reducing the number of repeat teen births. There is consensus that we are in need of a specific curriculum for teens that provides education outside the current scope of Healthy Start services. Teen mothers need extra help with the tough challenges they will face raising a child when they are still a child themselves.

What we propose to do

Healthy Start has launched the evidence-based curriculum titled FOCUS: Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections and Unwanted Pregnancies in Young Women. FOCUS is an eight-hour program consisting of four 2-hour sessions.

This program has been proven to reduce repeat teen births. We educate young women on issues such as responsible behavior, relationships, pregnancy and STD prevention and to promote healthy behavior and responsible decision making in the lives of young women.

  • Session 1: Increase knowledge about unintended pregnancies and STDs including HIV/AIDS. Modify values, beliefs, and attitudes that impact sexual behavior.
  • Session 2: Increase knowledge about hormonal and barrier contraceptives. Build communication skills to prevent risky sexual behaviors and increase condom use.
  • Session 3: Increase knowledge about the signs, symptoms, and consequences of STDs/HIV/AIDS. Increase knowledge about the transmission and prevention of STDs/HIV. Build communication skills to prevent STDs/HIV.
  • Session 4: Modify attitudes about the effects of alcohol and its relationship to sexual risk behaviors. Build refusal communication skills. Build condom use skills. Increase awareness about how life choices can impact decision-making and health.
  • Session 5: Program “graduation” celebration and meetings with mentors in the career fields the young women would like to pursue.

The maximum is 20 teens for each course.

Mentors Needed

We are looking for business men and women who would be willing to help by attending the last “graduation” session of the program to meet with teen mothers individually. At the first session, we ask each girl what her dream career is and then match her with a mentor at the last session.  Mentors will help the girls understand how to achieve their goal.