Assemblywoman Ellen (D-Suffern) announced that legislation she co-sponsored establishing an age-appropriate sex education grant program, known as the Healthy Teens Act, passed the New York State Assembly.
Although, nationwide, teen pregnancy rates have declined over the past decade, New York still reported almost 40,000 teen pregnancies in 2004, with some communities in New York reporting some of the highest teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates in the country.
Under the Healthy Teens Act, the Department of Health will distribute grants to school districts, BOCES, and school-based and community-based health centers with a proven history of success in reaching the adolescents of New York. The grant money will help these organizations conduct comprehensive, age-appropriate educational programs aimed at preventing unintended pregnancies and the transfer of sexually transmitted diseases among teens.
“We’re facing a public health crisis,” Jaffee said, noting that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, national rates of certain STDs are highest among young adults ages 15 to 24. “Statistics have shown that intensive educational programs, with parental involvement, have a dramatic effect on teenagers’ decisions” Jaffee said. “These programs give young people the tools they need to protect themselves and grow to become healthy adults.”