Supervisor Solis Denounces Federal Funding Cuts to Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

LOS ANGELES, CA – The LA County Department of Public Health (DPH) and the University of Southern California (USC) run the “Keeping it Real Together” program (KIR-T) which provides essential sexual and parent education. However, the Federal government will cut funding short and end the 5 year, $10-million teen pregnancy prevention program two years early. In response, today the Board of Supervisors passed a motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, to send 5-signature letter to HHS and federal representatives denouncing these cuts to funding and identify potential sources of new funds for this essential teen pregnancy prevention program.
“The federal government found $1.4 trillion for a tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, but now they want to cut $4 million to end a successful health education program that helps underserved youth make responsible decisions with their lives,” said Supervisor Solis, who served as Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama. “This program ensures that at-risk teens have the necessary information to make informed decisions about actions that will ultimately affect their education, health, and future. While philanthropic organizations may step in and help provide funding so that this critical program can continue, it’s a sad day when the federal government abdicates its responsibility to educate our children.”

KIR-T programming is funded under a scale-up grant. The current scope of work expands educational programming in the Los Angeles (LAUSD) and Compton Unified (CUSD) School Districts. 23 to 55 middle schools would be impacted, including high-risk youth in Soledad Enrichment Action Charter High School.

Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, Med, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health added, “Public Health is committed to our youth and the importance of healthy adolescent development including sexual health education programs for young people and parents. These programs not only promote healthy behaviors but also are shown to help prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Young people currently participating in these programs have benefitted from improved access to critical information and health services.”

Today’s actions mark the County’s strong commitment to providing sexual health and parental education to youth. The motion directs the Chief Executive Officer to send a 5-signature letter to the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the County’s Congressional Delegation, expressing its opposition to funding cuts to pregnancy prevention programs. Additionally, the Department of Public Health is set to report back in 60 days on all funding currently and potentially available to continue the KIR-T program and other teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Last year, Supervisor Solis called for the implementation of a foster youth pregnancy prevention plan as part of California’s Plan for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancies for Youth and Non-Minor Dependents.

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