Panel Paper: Replication of the Teen Outreach ProgramŽ in Hennepin County, MN: Short-Term Impacts of an Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

Friday, November 7, 2014 : 10:15 AM
Nambe (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kimberly Francis, Meredith Kelsey and Michelle Woodford Martin, Abt Associates, Inc.
A major priority for the Department of Health and Human Services is finding ways to reduce teenage pregnancy. A key strategy to achieve this goal is the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which invests in evidence-based strategies among populations at highest risk for teen pregnancy. The County of Hennepin, Minnesota, is one of 16 grantees funded by the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) in 2010 to replicate with fidelity and rigorously evaluate evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. The County chose to replicate the Teen Outreach Program (TOP®), a widely implemented youth development and service learning program designed to reduce teenage pregnancy and increase school success by helping youth develop a positive self-image, life management skills, and realistic goals. The TOP® program model consists of three components implemented over nine consecutive months: (1) weekly curriculum sessions, (2) community service learning, and (3) positive adult guidance and support. The program was originally implemented and evaluated between 1991 and 1995 and found to reduce rates of pregnancy, school failure, and academic suspension compared to a control group approximately nine months after the program began for youth assigned to the treatment group. In Hennepin County, staff from community agencies along with classroom teachers co-facilitate TOP®in 35 middle, high, alternative, and public charter schools in the cities with the highest teen birth rates in the county.

Abt Associates designed and implemented a cluster-randomized study to estimate the impact of replicating TOP® on reducing sexual risk-taking behaviors among urban teens in Hennepin County. The study sample consists of 61 teachers  randomized within 24 schools to the treatment and control conditions, and 1,644 consented youth assigned to those teachers. Youth are surveyed three times: at baseline, before the intervention begins for the treatment group; 12 months after the baseline survey (short-term impacts) and 24 months after the baseline survey (longer-term impacts). The youth sample is 55% female, 31% African American, 24% white, 17% Hispanic, with a mean age of 14 years. Approximately 24% were sexually experienced at baseline. We use an intent-to-treat (ITT) analysis to examine the impact of offering eligible youth the opportunity to participate in TOP®on sexual risk-taking behaviors.

This presentation will include a brief overview of the intervention as implemented in Hennepin County, and focus on (1) the extent to which implementers maintained fidelity to the model;  (2) key findings from the analysis of short-term impacts; and (3) a discussion of where this study fits in the context of six other replications of TOP® funded by OAH. The findings from this study will generate new evidence about the generalizability of TOP’s effectiveness in settings different from those in which it was originally tested, provide updated information about its effectiveness, and expand the evidence base about TOP® and youth development programs generally.