Power Through Choices (PTC) is a comprehensive, skill-building, evidence-based sexual health education curriculum focused on teen pregnancy prevention and risk reduction. PTC was the first and only sexuality education curriculum intentionally designed with and for youth in foster care and other out-of-home placements. With a focus on two major themes of self-empowerment and the impact of choices, PTC uses interactive learning to provide information and skills that help youth in out-of-home settings avoid risk-taking sexual behaviors to prevent STIs and teen pregnancy.
GROUNDED IN EDUCATIONAL THEORY
PTC anticipates that youth will be motivated, prepared and empowered to make healthy sexual choices for themselves by learning about sexual decision-making, reproductive health and contraceptive options — setting personal goals and planning for the future, as well as developing communication and other life skills.
The PTC curriculum is grounded in four psychosocial theories of behavior: The Health Belief Model, Self-regulation Theory, Theory of Reasoned Action and Social and Cognitive Learning Theory. Informed by these theories, PTC focuses on 1) participants’ understanding of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) risks and their perceived ability to reduce these risks, 2) goal-setting and planning to achieve future goals and avoid pregnancy, 3) the impact of behavioral choices on achieving future goals and 4) opportunities for practicing positive behaviors.
Power Through Choices: My Life, My Choices (2nd Edition) was updated to expand the reproductive health content, ensure medical accuracy, strengthen its trauma-informed and culturally responsive focus and increase the relevance of the content and activities to fit the realities of young people’s lives and societal influences today. The updated curriculum completed a rigorous five-year, multi-state demonstration and evaluation project funded as part of the Innovative Strategies initiative of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. An independent evaluation was conducted by the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
In addition, PTC was selected to be part of the large seven-project federal evaluation conducted by Mathematica Policy Research. The initial implementation findings documented strong results, described in the mid-project report, “Addressing Teen Pregnancy Risks for Youth Living in Out-of-Home Care: Implementing POWER Through Choices 2010.”
The final impact report documenting the outcome findings for the study was released by Mathematica Policy Research in September 2016.
Articles about the study have been submitted to peer-reviewed academic journals. Summaries of the project and key findings can be found in the Research section.
CURRICULA FOR OTHER GROUPS
Additional curricula and training products tailored to specific sub-groups, including older adolescents who have aged out of foster care, are currently in development.