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Heeding Calls from Shaheen, HHS to Make Federal Funds Available for NH Sex Ed Providers

**Update Comes in Response to Letter From Shaheen & NH Delegation to HHS Following Denial of Sex Ed Funding from GOP-Controlled Executive Council, Reversing a Decade of Funding Decisions & Putting Programs on Brink of Shuttering**  

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) confirmation that it will make available federal funds through the competitive process for Granite State sex education providers. This action from HHS follows Shaheen’s push for federal funds in response to the Republican-controlled Executive Council’s decision to block their funding, which had been routine funding for the last decade.

In December, Shaheen led the New Hampshire congressional delegation in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra urging the Department to fill the gap in funding to support programs operated by TLC Family Resource Center and Amoskeag Health, both of which were on the brink of ending given the Executive Council’s disastrous, politicized decision to deny them funding. Shaheen and Democratic Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, a staunch supporter for sex education funding, also wrote an op-ed in the Union Leader noting that teen pregnancies and STD’s would increase without funding for evidence-based sex education programming that has supported Granite State communities for a decade.

“For months, I’ve been sounding the alarm on the dangerous consequences facing adolescents in New Hampshire without access to sex education programming, which has proven to decrease rates of teen pregnancy and STD’s. The GOP-controlled Executive Council’s decision to reverse a decade of funding was based on extreme, partisan ideology and poor understanding of reproductive health. What’s more, it stripped parents of the private decision and opportunity to enroll their kids in fundamental sex education. Access to these resources never should have required a federal agency stepping up to resolve a crisis created by GOP Executive Councilors, but I’m relieved the Department of Health and Human Services heeded my call for assistance. These dollars are urgently needed to help allow providers in New Hampshire to continue offering evidence-based education in their communities, which experience higher-than-average teen pregnancy rates,” said Senator Shaheen. “Moving forward, I hope Republicans on the Executive Council re-examine the consequences of their dangerous, politicized decisions and prioritize the health and wellbeing of Granite State youth.”

"This is a huge victory for the people of New Hampshire," said Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington. "In the final few months of 2022, this misguided Executive Council obstructed critical public health programming that has been proven to lower rates of teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The funding for these programs had been approved by both Republicans and Democrats multiple times over the past decade. By bringing these funds back to the state, New Hampshire will be able to continue evidence-based programming for our communities most needing these services. I am proud that, through hard work together with providers, local leaders, and Senator Shaheen, we were able to find a solution that gets these much-needed funds to our communities."

“We are grateful for Senator Shaheen’s advocacy and efforts to make sure these vital federal funds available to New Hampshire communities.  TLC Family Resource Center is committed to investing resources into primary prevention strategies that strengthen our community and provide better outcomes for youth.  Our organization has relied on these federal funds to provide evidence-based education and prevention programming to at-risk teens in our region for over 10 years.  During this time, we have seen a reduction in teen birth rates in Sullivan County.  Without access to these federal funds, our ability to offer this long-standing program and provide much-needed resources for teens in our community would be in jeopardy,” said Stephanie Slayton, Executive Director of TLC Family Resource Center.

“Amoskeag Health is appreciative of the advocacy of Senator Jeanne Shaheen on behalf of the youth in New Hampshire. Following Senator Shaheen’s advocacy, Health and Human Services will make funding available to directly support teens in New Hampshire. We look forward to the opportunity to apply for this funding that would allow us to continue to offer the Personal Responsibility Education Program that has seen a reduction in unwanted teen pregnancies. Over the past ten years, we have effectively been helping teens identify the differences between abusive and healthy relationships, take responsibility for themselves and their bodies, and navigate these challenging conversations with parents and friends,” said Betsy Burtis, Chief Officer for Integrated Health Services of Amoskeag Health.

For nearly a decade, New Hampshire has received PREP funding for TLC Family Resource Center and Amoskeag Health, which have dramatically reduced teen pregnancy rates and provided information on reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and more. Given the Republican-controlled Executive Council’s dangerous and misguided decision to deny these programs critical federal funding since September, classes have been canceled -- stripping Granite State parents of the opportunity to enroll their children in these health education programs.