6. Providing Access to Sexual Health Education

Focus Areas

❒ The right of youth to receive sexual health education and to be provided transportation to receive that education;
❒ The procedure for staff to refer youth to receive sexual health education, including comprehensive sexual health education (CSE) compliant with the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA);
❒ The duties and responsibilities of county case managers and caregivers and on case plan documentation by the case manager, related to comprehensive sexual health education .

Familiarize staff members with the roles of the Local Educational Agency, school, and the county child welfare or probation agency in ensuring youth receive comprehensive sexual health education (CSE) and assist the county in ensuring this mandate is fulfilled.
The California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) requires that all students receive CSE once in middle school and once in high school, and charges Local Educational Agencies with determining how their district or school(s) will fulfill this mandate. In most cases, schools offer CSE within a specific course that occurs during a specific grade in school. Due to frequent placement changes which lead to a high level of school mobility, foster youth are more likely to miss CSE than their non-foster peers . To address this disparity, provisions were included in the California Foster Youth Sexual Health Education Act (SB 89), which requires the county case manager to verify that the youth has received CSE that meets the requirements of the CHYA, at least once in middle school and at least once in high school.

For youth who have not met this requirement, the county case manager must document in the case plan how the county child welfare or probation agency will ensure that the youth receives the instruction at the required intervals. If a foster youth has not received CSE once in both middle
school and high school, the county child welfare or probation agency is required to arrange for the provision of CSE.While STRTPs and Group Home’ are not mandated to provide comprehensive sexual health education themselves, they do play a role in helping the county child welfare or probation agency fulfill this requirement if asked.This may include referring youth to a local CSE provider, and/or providing transportation to receive CSE .

Provide additional opportunities for youth to receive sexual health education.
Receiving CSE once in middle school and once in high school results in youth receiving this education twice over the course of seven critical years of their adolescent development . As a best practice, youth should be provided more frequent exposure to this information. Because of the congregate nature of STRTPs and Group Homes, these organizations can facilitate the provision of sexual health education to the youth in their programs in a group, absent the challenges faced by placements
where youth reside in individual settings such as Resource Family homes . Providers should establish an ongoing practice of scheduling regular visits by a local sexual health education provider, such as Planned Parenthood or another provider funded through the Personal Responsibility Education
Program (PREP) or the Information and Education Program (I&E) . PREP is a federal grant program to educate young people on both abstinence and contraception in order to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections . I&E provides funding for education that emphasizes the
prevention of adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Tips for Providing Access to Sexual Health Education

Local sexual health education providers are available to assist providers and youth.
PREP providers, I&E providers and Planned Parenthood have professional educators available to assist and coordinate one-time classes, a series of classes, or CSE for youth. Trainers can also prepare specialized topics to meet the various needs of youth. Classes are designed to be in-person;
however, some trainers have adapted their classroom curriculum into online instruction as well.
Organizations should aim for a frequency that will ensure youth are exposed to this education before transitioning out of the program, given the short-term nature of placements.
Whether CSE, or a shortened curriculum, reputable providers such as Planned Parenthood and those funded through PREP or I&E use age-appropriate and medically accurate curricula. Organizations
should not attempt to provide this education themselves unless they have individuals on staff who have been trained to do so using vetted curricula.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Education Resources

Information on birth control options: http://thenationalcampaign.org/resource/pocket-protector

Information about types of birth control and effectiveness: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control

To find a Planned Parenthood Center near you: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center

To find a Title X family planning clinic near you:
http://www.cfhc.org/programs-and-services/clinic-map

Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (PACT) Program: www.familypact.org

Youth friendly websites about birth control, safe sex and healthy relationships:
http://stayteen.org/
http://www.teensource.org/
http://bedsider.org/

Resources for LGBTQ+ Youth:
http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm