Reducing teen and unplanned pregnancies requires investment and action by a range of stakeholders at the state and community levels. State leadership is necessary to build consensus for a coordinated strategic effort, and to ensure accountability for results among all stakeholders. Prevention programs alone cannot be expected to impact outcomes on a broad scale. Success depends on a combination of programs and the broader efforts of parents, families, faith communities, and the media to influence social norms, values, and popular culture.
Set clear goals and objectives. Establish targets for reducing teen and unplanned pregnancies, and identify critical legislative, budgetary, regulatory, and programmatic actions that will support achievement of the targets.
Build on existing efforts. Be aware that federal block grant agreements, such as the Maternal and Child Health block grant, require states to establish goals related to teen and/or unplanned pregnancy. Likewise, independent local efforts may be underway that offer important lessons and leadership for a statewide effort. Find out what these are and incorporate them into the state plan.
Promote collaboration and assign responsibility for outcomes based on the appropriate roles, resources and capacity of public and private stakeholders; including parents and youth.
Hold programs accountable for achieving realistic outcomes that are based on evidence. Match expectations with sufficient resources to achieve results.
Measure and report progress to stakeholders and the public.
Michigan held a public event to highlight progress toward implementing the Governor’s Blue Print to Prevent Unintended Pregnancies. The state surgeon general joined community members and stakeholders to report success in securing a Medicaid waiver to expand access to family planning services, engaging parents through a pilot educational program, and establishing a provider task force to develop guidelines for medical providers on counseling women about family planning.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) launched EHSResults in 2007 to foster transparency, accountability, and cross-agency collaboration throughout the Secretariat. EHSResults identifies strategic goals, provides performance information for better internal decision making, and shares progress with the public. One objective is to educate youth about teen pregnancy, which aligns to goals for promoting positive youth development and building safe communities.