Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program - General Departmental Program Fact Sheet

Family and Youth Services Bureau

Mission Statement

FYSB Mission
To support the organizations and communities that work every day to reduce the risk of youth homelessness, adolescent pregnancy and domestic violence.

FYSB Vision
A future in which all our nation’s youth, individuals and families—no matter what challenges they may face—can live healthy, productive, violence-free lives.

The purpose of the general departmental funded Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) Program (GD-SRAE) is to fund projects that exclusively implement sexual risk avoidance education that teaches youth how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity.  GD-SRAE programs also teach the benefits associated with self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, and resisting sexual coercion, dating violence, and other youth risk behaviors such as underage drinking or illicit drug use without normalizing teen sexual activity.

Services & Required Topics
Grantees use an evidence-based approach and/or effective strategies to educate youth on the optimal health behavior of avoiding non-marital sexual activity and other risky behaviors. GD-SRAE projects provide services to youth populations, age 10-19, using a Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework as part of risk avoidance strategies. The goal of the GD-SRAE program is to educate youth on how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity and avoid related risky behaviors.

Programs may select a curriculum that fits the needs of the youth served, provided it adheres to these requirements:

  • Curricula, interventions, and activities that exclusively implement education in sexual risk avoidance (defined as voluntarily refraining from non-martial sexual activity) and address the trauma needs of vulnerable youth.
  • Curriculum is medically accurate, age-appropriate with regard to the developmental stage of the intended audience, culturally appropriate, and linguistically appropriate.
  • Interventions, materials, and curricula must not promote, encourage, or normalize sexual activity outside of marriage.
  • Curricula, interventions, and activities can provide information on contraception that does not include demonstrations and/or simulations of contraceptive devices. Any information provided on contraception must ensure that youth understand that contraception offers physical risk reduction and not risk elimination.

Programs must address the following topics:

  • The holistic individual and societal benefits associated with personal responsibility, self- regulation, goal setting, healthy decision-making, and a focus on the future.
  • The advantage of refraining from non-marital sexual activity to improve future prospects and the physical and emotional health of youth.
  • The increased likelihood of avoiding poverty when youth attain self-sufficiency and emotional maturity before engaging in sexual activity.
  • The foundational components of healthy relationships and their impact on the formation of healthy marriages and safe and stable families.
  • How other youth risk behaviors, such as drug and alcohol usage, increase the risk for teen sex.
  • How to resist and avoid, and receive help regarding sexual coercion and dating violence, recognizing that even with consent, teen sex remains a youth risk behavior.

The SRAE Program is funded generally under the authority of section 1110 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1310, and specifically by the appropriation for General Departmental Management for the Office of the Secretary under Division A, Title II of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, Pub. L. No. 116-94 and extended by the CARES Act, 2020 (Pub. L. No. 116-136).

Measuring Effectiveness
The SRAE Program must, at a minimum, implement evidence-based programs that comply with the following requirements:

  • Provide data that demonstrates how the selected curriculum and overall proposal systematically applies key program elements that have been found to be effective in positive youth behavior change, especially delaying initiation of sexual activity, returning to a lifestyle without sex, and refraining from non-marital sex.
  • Teach the benefits associated with self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, resisting sexual coercion, dating violence, and other youth risk behaviors, such as underage drinking or illicit drug use, without normalizing teen sexual activity.
  • Link program participants to services with local community partners and other agencies that support the health, safety, and well-being of program participants. The partnering agencies should share a commitment for optimal health outcomes that do not normalize teen sex.
  • Provide formal training for facilitators/educators in the program model, elements of the program models, and youth risk and protective factors. This training must be delivered by professionals who can provide follow-up technical assistance to facilitators. Selection of curricula from the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Teen Pregnancy Prevention evidence review list is not required.
  • Education in sexual risk avoidance be the exclusive purpose of the grant.

Grant Award Process
FYSB distributes GD-SRAE funds through a competitive review process. In FY2019, $20.8 million was awarded to 22 projects across the nation.

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