The Impact of Federal Budget Negotiations on Texas’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs

On October 26, a tentative federal budget agreement was finally reached in our nation’s Capitol with the White House and congressional leaders agreeing to increase the FY 2016 and FY 2017 budget caps and lift the debt ceiling. Congress passed this bill on October 28 with the Senate following suit on October 30. Though passage of this budget agreement made headlines, Congress still has to negotiate final funding levels for programs, including those that support adolescent health and teen pregnancy prevention.

One such program, the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) administered through the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) continues to sit on the chopping block. Funded at $101 million, early budget drafts by both House and Senate appropriations committees recommended significant cuts to this program, cuts which set a bad precedent for final budget negotiations.

Established in 2010, funding from the TPPP allows communities to replicate programs demonstrated to prevent teen pregnancy. Eliminating funding for TPPP, which is a gold-standard evidence-based program, would be devastating to the ongoing efforts in Texas and the success achieved over the last five years.

In Texas alone, the TPPP will provide $43.3 million in investments to serve more than 104,000 youth across the state over the next five years – only if the current funding levels are continued. Despite recent declines in teen childbearing in Texas, we still have a lot to accomplish. In 2013, our teen birth rate ranked fourth highest in the nation with at-risk and minority youth facing disproportionately higher teen birth rates. These grants are going to communities with the highest need from Dallas and Southeast El Paso, to several rural counties in South Texas. They target Latino youth, youth in juvenile detention, foster care, and expecting and parenting teens, and equip them with the important life skills they need to become productive adults.

Continuing the TPPP will also help save taxpayer money over time. In 2010, the public cost of teen childbearing was $9.4 billion nationally and $1.1 billion in Texas alone. It would be short-sighted to cut funding for effective programs like these that help our youth reach their full potential while also saving taxpayer money. Investment in the TPPP is making a real difference in our communities right now while also contributing to progress on other critical issues, such as high school completion rates and workforce preparation. This program is a modest but highly strategic investment by the federal government to address teen pregnancy and preserving the full funding of $101 million will continue to improve the lives of those who call the great state of Texas home.

You can help protect TPPP funds. Click here to learn how.

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Dr. Gwen Daverth, President/CEO
Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Dr. Janet Realini, President
Healthy Futures of Texas
Current Texas TPPP Grantee

Terry Goltz Greenberg, Executive Director
North Texas Alliance to Reduce Teen Pregnancy
Current Texas TPPP Grantee

Ann Awalt, Executive Director
Community Action Corporation of South Texas
Current Texas TPPP Grantee

Jenifer DeAtley, Director of US Programs and AYSRH Program Advisor
EngenderHealth
Current Texas TPPP Grantee

Bill Schlesinger, CEO
Project Vida Health Center
Current Texas TPPP Grantee