Strategies for Addressing Financial Literacy within Personal Responsibility Education Programs (PREP)

Publication Date: April 9, 2021
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  • Published: 2021


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 have flexibility to design and implement their programs, provided they adhere 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 and other practitioners implement the APSs, as well as a unified framework that cuts across subjects. The conceptual models are to help PREP grantees understand and select APSs, develop APS-related content, and target specific outcomes in their programs. This brief offers guidance to grantees who want to or already address one of the APSs, financial literacy, in their PREP program. The goal of this brief is to provide additional guidance on financial literacy to support grantees incorporating it in their programs.

Key Findings and Highlights

This brief provides a working definition for financial literacy, highlights the importance of delivering content that is timely, relevant, and developmentally appropriate for youth, and offers guidance on how grantees can build on topics sequentially as youth age. It breaks down financial education content, along with examples of practical applications, by general topic and by the age group for which it may first be relevant or timely. The brief also discusses how programs can align financial literacy programming with the needs of youth from diverse backgrounds and experiences. 


The APS study 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.

To develop this brief, the authors reviewed the research literature used to develop the financial literacy conceptual model. The authors synthesized information from this literature about financial content and practical applications for youth in different age groups. The authors also identified lessons about building content sequentially and aligning content with the needs of youth from diverse backgrounds and experiences.


Eddins, Katie and Elizabeth Clary. (2021). Strategies for Addressing Financial Literacy within Personal Responsibility and Education Programs (PREP). OPRE Report # 2021-20. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.