2017-08-11 23:45:10 UTC
Luanne Rohrbach was stunned when she got the letter from Washington: The federal money for her teen pregnancy prevention program was being shut off.
Rohrbach helps lead a program providing sexual health education for middle- and high-school students in Los Angeles and Compton. Called “Keeping It Real Together,” the initiative was supposed to reach 80,000 teens and their parents, as well as 55 schools, by 2020 in a community with a teen birth rate higher than the state average.
Now it may not be able to stay afloat.
The project is one of about 80 teen pregnancy prevention programs whose funding was ended two years early by the Trump administration, likely forcing them to shrink or close. Seven of the programs are based in California and receive about $7.9 million in annual grants.
“There was no reasoning and explanation [for the cuts]. It came as a complete surprise to grantees,” said Rohrbach, an associate professor at the University of Southern California’s medical school and principal investigator for the “Keeping It Real Together” project.
“We are certainly … looking for ways to sustain the program, but right now I am not aware of a source of funding that could enable us to do things at the scale that we do now.”
According to The Center for Investigative Reporting, the Trump administration axed $213.6 million from evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs and research nationwide. The federal Office of Adolescent Health recently notified the grantees of the cut.
The federal grant program was created under the first Obama administration, and a second cycle of funding was approved in 2015. Now the concern among program managers is that young people at highest risk will lose resources that in many areas were scarce to begin with. .....