July 20, 2015 — Several Texas not-for-profits are slated to receive about $9 million in federal funding for teenage pregnancy prevention, though whether the groups will continue to receive the funding in years to come is uncertain, the Medill News Service/Texas Tribune reports.
The state has the fifth-highest teenage birth rate in the U.S., according to the Office of Adolescent Health.
HHS earlier this month announced that it would award $86 million in grants for teenage pregnancy prevention efforts to not-for-profits, universities and school districts in 31 states and Washington, D.C. The $86 million covers the first year of the five-year grant period.
However, the status of funding for the remaining four years is uncertain because the House and Senate have included cuts to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in their proposed appropriations measures (Campbell, Medill News Service/Texas Tribune, 7/16). Currently, there is $105 million allocated for sexuality education in the U.S., with about 95% of the funding going toward TPPP (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/14).
Specifically, the Senate is considering a proposal (S 1695) that would cut TPPP funding by 80%, leaving the program with an annual budget of $20 million, while the House is weighing a proposal (HR 3020) that would eliminate funding for the program completely.
Congress has not set a date to vote on the underlying measures, but it is supposed to act on all spending bills prior to Oct. 1, when the next fiscal year begins.
Effect on Texas
According to the Texas Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy, organizations in Texas have received about $7.4 million annually since TPPP launched in 2010. The programs that have received funding for this year include Community Action Corporation of South Texas, Engender Health, Healthy Futures of Texas, the North Texas Alliance To Reduce Teen Pregnancy, Project Vida Health Center El Paso, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
By the end of the five-year grant period, the seven organizations that would receive funding are projected to reach more than 20,000 young people. According to MNS/Tribune, the funding will be used to support initiatives such as a program to help parents discuss sexuality education with teenagers, as well as a program in schools that is focused on life and career goals, among other skills.
Some of the organizations have said cutting funding now would stop them from completing the work they start.
Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy CEO and President Gwen Daverth said, "If this funding is cut that would be devastating to all those people who have just been brought into the positions, basically a year's worth of effort to get something up and running will just come to an end" (Medill News Service/Texas Tribune, 7/16).