Shaheen Leads NH Delegation in Letter to HHS Urging Direct Federal Funding to Support Sexual Education Providers
**Letter Comes in Response to GOP-Controlled Executive Council’s Dangerous Denial of Funding for Sex Ed Programs, Reversing a Decade of Funding Decisions & Putting Programs on Brink of Shuttering**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and U.S. Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) in a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, urging the Department to support sexual education providers in the wake of the Executive Council’s decision to block their funding.
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 and will continue to be canceled -- stripping Granite State parents of the opportunity to enroll their children in these health education programs.
“This year the New Hampshire Executive Council, which approves the receipt and expenditure of all federal funds in New Hampshire totaling $10,000 or more, has repeatedly denied PREP funding for TLC Family Resource Center and Amoskeag Health to continue their sex education classes. This shortsighted decision will deprive the State of $682,074 over the next three years, stymieing the progress New Hampshire has made in decreasing teen birth rates and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases,” the delegation wrote.
They continued: “Absent direct funding from HHS, Amoskeag Health and TLC Family Resource Center will be forced to end classes until an accessible federal funding source becomes available or in perpetuity, leaving hundreds of New Hampshire youth without access to critical sex education and pregnancy prevention programs. We urge you to work with our State and PREP providers to find any means available to directly fund these vital programs as soon as possible.”
Full text of the letter is available here.
In response to the letter, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, TLC Family Resource Center and Amoskeag Health released the following statements:
”For the past two months, I have been working with patients, providers, and local leaders to continue this evidence-based program in the two communities needing these services the most. Manchester and Claremont experience some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the state, and this program has proven to dramatically decrease these rates and the rates of sexually transmitted disease. The Executive Council has, once again, rejected critical public health funds and their actions will negatively impact already at-risk adolescents. The congressional delegation and I are working together to secure funding before any more harm is done to New Hampshire teens. Thank you to our congressional delegation for their leadership in calling for a federal solution that gets these much-needed funds to our communities,” said Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington.
“Unexpectedly losing this funding for PREP has been challenging for TLC Family Resource Center. We had developed new partnerships with several schools and had invested in additional outreach in our community to boost participation in PREP. When we had to contact the schools and students to postpone or cancel classes, it was very disappointing for everyone involved. TLC Family Resource Center has been providing family support services in Greater Sullivan County for 30 years. Teen parents are definitely one of the most vulnerable populations we serve in our home visiting programs, and children born to teen parents often face many barriers and challenges to early childhood development. Providing primary prevention for teen pregnancy in our region is an impactful way to improve outcomes for teens, but also for young children. Receiving a three-year contract to continue PREP would ensure that TLC Family Resource Center is able to provide the program to over 250 youth. Without dedicated, multi-year funding, TLC will be forced to limit the number of youth who are able to participate, greatly reducing the impact of the program,” said Stephanie Slayton, Executive Director of the TLC Family Resource Center.
“Amoskeag Health is disappointed that NH’s Executive Council rejected federal funding to continue the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), a comprehensive and preventative sexual health education program that the State of New Hampshire has contracted with us to provide for 10 years. In the time we have offered this program to high school-aged students, PREP helped reduce Manchester’s teen pregnancy rate by 50%, as well as taught youth about anatomy, healthy relationships, and understanding consequences of behavior. We are extremely concerned that without continued funding Manchester will backtrack on that progress and experience more teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and domestic violence, resulting in an increased financial burden on health and social resources to support teen moms, increased demand for abortions, and increased involvement of teens and their children in the child welfare system,” said Kris McCracken, President/CEO of Amoskeag Health.