208308 Goals for Gals: A sexual health program for adolescent females in the juvenile justice system

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:15 AM

Judy A. Didion, PhD , School of Nursing, Lourdes College, Sylvania, OH
Teen pregnancy in the United States continues to be a significant public health problem that results in effects that can last a lifetime. The effects from an unintended pregnancy include higher school dropout rates and economic difficulties for the teen parent and greater risks for social, health and academic disadvantages for the child. Developing effective strategies to tackle this complex problem demands partnerships between agencies and organizations that involve teens. One population who has a history of risk taking and is vulnerable to an unintended pregnancy includes female adolescents on probation. This presentation describes an innovative partnership between a public health department and a county juvenile court system. The purpose of this partnership is to provide a supportive sexual health education program for vulnerable adolescent females on probation. This program called “Goals for Gals” utilized scrapbooking to stimulate discussion about sexual health, to promote self-reflection about achievements and goals, and to provide life skills for sexual health and relationship building. A probation officer, public health nurse, peer speakers and a rape prevention specialist were involved in this 2 day program. Outcome evaluation data is described and enabled the public health nurse and the probation officer to better understand how females become engaged in their sexual health and to devise improved programs to support young females during their criminal probation period.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the process of devising and implementing effective methods that will engage high risk female teens in discussion about personal risk reduction and prevention of STI’s, HIV, unintended pregnancy and dating violence; 2. Identify ways to develop collaboration between public health departments and the juvenile court system for the purpose of promoting sexual health and resiliency among adolescent females on probation; and 3. Discuss program outcomes related to the improvement of sexual health and decision making for adolescent females who are on probation.

Keywords: Adolescents, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 17 years work with HIV and STI risk reduction as a community educator, nurse and pregnancy prevention specialist. Completed research in the area of adolescent pregnancy prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.