Practice Strategies

Each of the six participating counties is electing to implement one of more practice strategies to reduce pregnancy among foster youth in their county. These practice strategies include the following:

  • Making Proud Choices
    Making Proud Choices! For Youth In Out‐of‐Home Care is a ten‐module curriculum designed to empower adolescents to change their behavior in ways that will significantly decrease their chances of being involved in unintended pregnancies, and reduce their risk of becoming infected with STDs and HIV. The curriculum acknowledges that abstinence is the most effective way to eliminate these risks. However, realizing that abstinence is not the path that many young people will choose, the curriculum spends a great deal of time encouraging the practice of safer sex and condom use.The curriculum also addresses the underlying attitudes and beliefs that many young people have about birth control and condoms; provides information and exercises that teach adolescents how to use condoms correctly; and gives them the confidence they need to choose and negotiate safer‐sex practices. For a link to the full curriculum, follow this LINK.
  • Promoting Healthy Sexual Development and Pregnancy Prevention with Children and Youth in Foster Care
    This practice strategy is an approach developed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for foster parents, adoptive parents and social workers. There are three main objectives of the practices strategy. First, the curriculum is intended to educate foster parents and child welfare professionals about healthy sexual development, particularly as it pertains to youth in care who have been exposed to trauma and to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.Additionally, it seeks to enhance the ability of foster parents and child welfare professionals to communicate with youth in care about sexual health and engage those youth in discussions about sexuality and sexual behavior. The final goal of the strategy is to empower foster parents and child welfare professionals to help youth in care make healthy choices about sexual relationships, delay pregnancy, and prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To read more about this practice strategy, including a process evaluation of it, follow this LINK.
  • Pregnant and Parenting Youth (PPY) Conferences
    PPY conferences provide an individualized conference to a youth in foster care who is pregnant or parenting to prevent subsequent pregnancy and promote successful parenting. This approach was established in Los Angeles County through a partnership between the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services, Public Counsel and the Alliance for Children’s Rights.Individualized PPY Conferences build support networks, both formal and informal, for pregnant and parenting teens involved in the child welfare and juvenile probation systems. Bringing together individuals who can help assure that these vulnerable youth have stable placements, prenatal care, access to appropriate child development information, and early intervention services can profoundly affect the future of teens in foster care and their young children.The conferences also address obstacles to success, including but not limited to custody and child support, childcare, and health and mental health issues. The most innovative aspect of the PPY Conference is the required involvement of a specialist who, independent of the child welfare agency or the court system, brings knowledge and expertise regarding the issues and available resources for this population.
  • Early Pregnancy Identification to Ensure Timely Referral to Nurse Family Partnership
    Nurse Family Partnership is a national program that has been proven to improve birth outcome for children and their mothers, including a reduction in subsequent pregnancy. NFP includes one‐on‐one home visits by a trained public health registered nurse to participating clients. The visits begin early in the woman’s pregnancy (with program enrollment no later than the 28th week of gestation) and conclude when the woman’s child turns 2 years old. NFP is designed to improve (1) prenatal health and outcomes, (2) child health and development.Unfortunately, many youth who would greatly benefit from NFP are not able to access it because there is a systematic way for counties to identify pregnant youth early in their pregnancies. Counties that elect to participate in this practice strategy will develop an early identification and referral system in an effort to ensure all pregnant foster youth who would like to be referred, are able to access the services of the NFP. For more information about evidence base supporting the NFP, follow this LINK.

To listen to the web seminars on each of these strategies and view the presentation slides, follow this LINK. You can also find an overview of each strategy by viewing this fact sheet.