Arizona State PREP Increases Collaboration, Develops New Tools & Resources in Response to COVID-19

May 18, 2021
ADHS

Like many Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention grantees, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program at Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Visit disclaimer page , a State PREP grantee, has had to pivot to meet the needs of sub-recipients, youth, and partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As Darlene Depina, ADHS, TPP Program Director noted, “it’s been a rollercoaster since March 2020.” Fortunately, the ADHS TPP Program team has a long history of using a continuous quality improvement (CQI) framework. This has helped them adjust and develop tools and resources, as well as support their sub-recipients needs during this challenging time.

In response to COVID-19, ADHS quickly conducted a needs assessment and hosted subsequent cluster calls to learn more about partner needs and to share tools and resources across implementation sites. ADHS established a centralized, secure website as the main communication hub for partners and developed the Sustainability Implementation Guide, a tool to help sub-recipients implement programs virtually across the state. The guide includes a pre-implementation readiness tool, a program planning tool, and a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, ADHS has offered additional guidance and flexibility for implementation. A major concern for program implementation has been fidelity. ADHS continues to explore ways to offer flexibility to sub-recipients so that youth can be served in their current context, while recognizing fidelity may not be feasible in current circumstances for many implementation agencies. Recent FAQs have been added to the Sustainability Implementation Guide to “open up options to serve youth” according to Darlene Depina because the current situation is requiring more creativity and flexibility than in previous implementation cycles.            

Looking to the Future 

As ADHS works to support its sub-recipients, the program is committed to continuous quality improvement (CQI) and exploring ways to make the program better. “This CQI mindset is inspiring,” says Depina. It ensures that the program doesn’t settle for ’good enough.’ Rather, the TPP Program at ADHS continues to identify policies and procedures that will set the program up for success and support positive outcomes for youth across the state of Arizona.

More about the ADHS TPP Program

The TPP Program at ADHS is housed under the Bureau of Women and Children’s Health and is a State Personal Responsibility Education Program and State Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program grantee, both programs funded by the Family & Youth Services Bureau. Through these funding streams, ADHS funds 34 sub-recipients through 24 contracts. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was serving approximately 4,000 youth per month across the state.