Abstinence Education Program


What is abstinence education?  

Abstinence from sexual activity is an important personal and public health strategy across the lifespan.  Abstinence is generally agreed to be the best choice for young adolescents.  


Temple University Harrisburg administers Title V Abstinence Education funds for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  This federal money is formula-funded and Pennsylvania's share is about $1.5 million annually through September 2014.  The purpose of the program is to fund abstinence education, and where appropriate, mentoring, counseling and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity. The target population of Pennsylvania's program is youth ages 9-14.


Who is funded to provide abstinence education in Pennsylvania?

·        Clinical Outcomes Group, Inc.

·        Council for Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia, Inc.

·        To Our Children's Future with Health

·        UPMC Shadyside Health Partnership

·        Women's Care Center of Erie County


How is abstinence education provided in Pennsylvania?



Annually, approximately 4000 youth ages 9-14 across Pennsylvania are taught an abstinence curriculum.  Promoting Health Among Teens! Abstinence-Only (PHAT) intervention is the focus of Pennsylvania's Title V program. Five provider organizations implement this evidence-based curriculum at schools and community-based sites in the counties of Allegheny, Erie, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill. Additionally, Pennsylvania allows two alternate curricula to be implemented.  The Women´s Care Center of Erie County is implementing WAIT Training and To Our Children´s Future with Health will implement PHAT as part of a locally-developed program: Discovering Dignity.


Supportive Services

In addition to the implementation of curricula, funded organizations provide mentoring, counseling and adult supervision activities. Examples include individual and group counseling, service learning activities, after-school programming, job clubs and workshops for parents.  A resource that is utilized in several of these supportive settings is Teen Game Plan, a resource that helps youth develop a life plan for a fulfilled and healthy future.


Tools for Practitioners

Temple University Harrisburg also consults with experts for the development of tools for practitioners to support abstinence education. Examples of these activities have included the following.


Professional Development Training:  "Trauma-Informed Approaches for Adolescent Sexual Health" -- Consultant, Joanne Schladale, Resources for Resolving Violence

This training course provided a foundation for understanding the influence of trauma on adolescent sexual decision-making by combining research on childhood trauma with best practices for sex education.

·        Training flyer pdf 

·        Training publication pdf

Resource Dissemination to Practitioners -- Consultant, The Center for Family Life Education

·        Making Sense of Abstinence, by Taverner, B. and Montfort, S. (2005).

·        Unequal Partners, Teaching About power and Consent in Adult-Teen and Other Relationships, 3rdEd., by Montfort, S. and Brick, P. (2007).

·        SexEdNetwork - on-line subscriptions for professional educators:  network.sexedstore.com