Supporting Title X Providers to Promote Healthy Adolescent Relationships

July 11th, 2020 | Viewpoint

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Learning how to foster supportive, healthy relationships is an important skill developed during adolescence. Since its inception, the federal Title X family planning program—the only federal program dedicated to ensuring access to health care services for preventing or achieving pregnancy—has prioritized helping adolescents to develop healthy relationships. When a client comes to a Title X site, in addition to meeting their family planning health care needs, they are also counseled on healthy relationships with trusted adults as well as peers. 

Research shows that adolescents who talk with parents about topics related to dating, healthy relationships, pregnancy, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections are more likely to delay initiation of sexual activity; use birth control more often if they do have sex; have better communication with romantic partners; and decease likelihood of being involved in coercive sexual relationships. Often, the parent-adolescent relationship is the one that informs how the adolescent participates in other relationships. JSI, through the Family Planning National Training Center (FPNTC), developed a brief video and training guide to help family planning clinic staff develop their skills in encouraging parental involvement.

Healthy romantic relationships can help prepare adolescents for more positive relationships during adulthood. Adolescent clients served at Title X sites are also counseled about how to identify and define healthy and unhealthy relationships, and, in the case of unhealthy relationships, resist sexual coercion.  JSI developed the Counseling Adolescent Clients to Resist Sexual Coercion Video and accompanying Training Guide for the FPNTC, as well as the Healthy Relationship Wheel and Relationship Spectrum, adapted from Sexual Health: An Adolescent Provider Toolkit in collaboration with SYN-United Colorado, a Youth Advisory Group.

JSI is proud to work with service providers who help young people understand and build healthy relationships with trusted adults as well as peers. Since 2016, JSI has managed the National Training Center for the Title X Family Planning Program, a project awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs. Through the Training Center, as well as our past work with the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, we continue to strive for optimal health for adolescents in the U.S.

Written by: Katie Quimby & Jennifer Kawatu

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