Conceptual Models for Adulthood Preparation Subjects within the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)

Publication Date: April 2, 2021
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  • Pages: 192
  • Published: 2021

Introduction

The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) is one of the largest federally funded programs designed to address adolescent pregnancy. PREP is administered by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). PREP grantees may design their programs, adhering to requirements in the legislation to: (1) implement evidence-based or evidence-informed curricula; (2) provide education on abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV; (3) educate youth on at least three of six adulthood preparation subjects (APSs) to support the transition to adulthood; and (4) focus on high-risk populations. The APSs include: healthy relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy, parent-child communication, education and career success, and healthy life skills.

FYSB and the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) within ACF contracted with Mathematica and its partner, Child Trends, to develop conceptual models to help PREP grantees, as well as other practitioners, implement the APSs. The conceptual models are to help PREP grantees understand and select APSs, develop APS-related content, and target specific outcomes in their programs. This report presents conceptual models for the six APSs, and a unified framework that identifies commonalities across the models and provides guidance for including a PYD approach in APS programming.

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION TO APS CONCEPTUAL MODELS FOR PREP

Chapter 2: METHODS FOR DEVELOPING APS CONCEPTUAL MODELS

Chapter 3: CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR ADDRESSING ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT IN PREP

Chapter 4: CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR ADDRESSING EDUCATIONAL AND CAREER SUCCESS IN PREP

Chapter 5: CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR ADDRESSING FINANCIAL LITERACY IN PREP

Chapter 6: CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR ADDRESSING HEALTHY LIFE SKILLS IN PREP

Chapter 7: CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR ADDRESSING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS IN PREP

Chapter 8: CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR ADDRESSING PARENT-CHILD COMMUNICATION IN PREP

Chapter 9: UNIFIED FRAMEWORK FOR ADDRESSING ADULTHOOD PREPARATION SUBJECTS IN PREP

Chapter 10: CONSIDERATIONS FOR USING CONCEPTUAL MODELS TO SELECT AND IMPLEMENT APS TOPICS IN PREP

Purpose

The APS conceptual models are to help PREP grantees understand and select APSs, develop APS-related content, and target specific outcomes in their programs. Specifically, the models will help grantees to:

  1. Understand APSs. Each conceptual model is designed to help PREP grantees define the APS, understand the topics and related content areas, and design, implement, and integrate programming for the subjects within their existing programming.
  2. Choose APSs. Grantees can use this report to determine which APSs are best suited to include in their PREP programming. Grantees can compare the topics they cover related to sexual health and their current APSs with the topics listed in the APS conceptual models. Grantees can then choose to cover their current APS topics in more depth, or cover topics they do not already include in their programming.
  3. Develop APS content. Once APS topics are chosen, grantees can use the conceptual models to design and deliver that content within their PREP programs. The conceptual models can serve as tools to support grantees with addressing APSs in a comprehensive and purposeful way.
  4. Target specific outcomes. Grantees who know which outcomes they want to target can use the conceptual models to identify how programming for specific APSs might lead to intended outcomes. Alternatively, grantees can use the unified framework to determine which APSs to target to try to achieve specific outcomes.

Key Findings and Highlights

The report presents seven models: six APS conceptual models and a unified framework. Together, these models can help grantees implement APSs. Each APS conceptual model contains six components:

  1. Working definition: Describes the subject and what it means in the context of PREP.
  2. Theory of change: Articulates why including the APS may help prepare youth and young adults for the transition to adulthood.
  3. Precursors: Identifies precursors that may affect youth prior to or as they enter the program. Precursors include developmental tasks relevant to adolescents and the specific subject as well as risk and protective factors that may affect how practitioners provide programming to adolescents.
  4. Topics: Lists a set of topics to consider including as part of the APS.
  5. Program design and implementation: Discusses program considerations related to how to deliver, and who should deliver, APS programming.
  6. Outcomes: Identifies outcomes related to the prevention of pregnancy and STIs among youth targeted by PREP (enhanced outcomes), and outcomes not related to the prevention of pregnancy and STIs among youth (expanded outcomes).

The unified framework is a consolidated model that identifies commonalities or overlap between the precursors and outcomes in the individual APS conceptual models. The unified framework is intended to help PREP grantees understand how the addition of APS content, including use of a positive youth development (PYD) approach, can improve outcomes for participating youth. Grantees may use the unified framework to support selection of APSs or to see how APSs are related.

Methods

The team developed the conceptual models and unified framework using a multi-staged, iterative process. For each APS, the study team followed several steps that incorporated multiple data sources to develop and then refine the conceptual model and description of supporting research. Throughout the process ACF reviewed the developing models. The steps involved:

  1. Conducting a targeted review of research literature for each of the six APSs and summarizing information from the reviewed articles to develop the initial APS conceptual models.
  2. Working with consultants on the early stages of model development, including to develop initial working definitions and search terms to guide the literature review for each APS and to review early drafts of the models and supporting narratives.
  3. Interviewing selected PREP grantees and providers about their APS programming. Topics included how grantees chose which APSs to cover, whether they covered APSs through their existing curriculum for pregnancy and STI prevention or through additional resources, and who taught the APSs.
  4. Coordinating a stakeholder review to solicit feedback on each conceptual model and supporting narrative. The team engaged PREP grantees, federal agencies, external organizations, and experts to ensure the models aligned with existing and best practices.

Citation

Clary, Elizabeth, Heather Zaveri, Kristin Moore, Mindy Scott, Chistopher Jones, Katie Eddins, Katie Adamek, Deana Around Him, Monica Arkin, and Isabel Griffith. (2021). Conceptual Models for Adulthod Preparation Subjects within Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). OPRE Report # 2021-21. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.