The PREP Initiative
New York State's Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) is a community-based initiative supported by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Bureau of Perinatal Reproductive and Sexual Health (BPRASH). The initiative utilizes a positive youth development framework and together with evidence-based practices to promote health and reduce risk of adolescent pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in high-need communities.
With a focus on youth age 10-19, the PREP model is designed to support positive youth outcomes through evidence-based sexual health education, access to services including sexual and reproductive health care, and programming that prepares youth for adulthood. PREP providers are expected to implement activities based on the developmental, socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and cultural needs, resources, and perspectives of the populations they serve.
Sexual Health Education
The PREP initiative supports the implementation of evidence-based program (EBP) models that have been shown to change behavior (such as delaying sexual activity, or increasing condom and contraceptive use among sexually active youth). Programs place substantial emphasis on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and STIs/HIV among adolescents.
Access to Services
PREP programs aim to increase access and provide referrals as needed to providers of comprehensive reproductive health care and family planning services. They may also refer youth to a range of health care and social services (such as substance abuse, alcohol abuse, tobacco cessation, mental health, and intimate partner violence, among others). Programs encourage the enrollment of eligible youth in the NYS Marketplace, Medicaid, the Family Planning Benefit Program, CHIP, or any other Federal or NYS assistance program for which they may be eligible.
Adult Preparation Subjects
PREP funds are also used to educate adolescents on at least three adulthood preparation subjects, including:
- Healthy relationships
- Adolescent development
- Financial literacy
- Parent-child communication
- Educational and career success
- Healthy life skills
Resources to support these efforts may be found in Prep for Adulthood: An Activity Toolkit.
The Current Cycle of the PREP Initiative
The current cycle of the PREP initiative began October 1, 2023, and is anticipated to continue until September 30, 2028. The PREP initiative is supported by Federal Title V funds awarded to NYSDOH by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The seven PREP community-based programs currently funded are located in areas with high need as identified by the Adolescent Sexual Health Needs Index (ASHNI). Calculated at the ZIP code level, the ASHNI provides a single, multidimensional measure related to adolescent pregnancy and STIs. The ASHNI takes into consideration a variety of key factors related to these outcomes, including the size of the adolescent population, actual number of adolescent pregnancies and STI cases, and a number of specific demographic and community factors (education, economic, and race/ethnicity indicators) that are associated with sexual health outcomes. Grantees were selected through a competitive Request for Applications process.
The Role of ACT for Youth
The ACT for Youth Center for Community Action is funded by NYSDOH to provide training, capacity building, and evaluation services to PREP, CAPP, and SRAE providers. Based at Cornell University, ACT for Youth has over two decades of experience and expertise in positive youth development and adolescent health.