Strengthening local capacity to support teen health.

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About NC Youth Connected

What is NC Youth Connected?
NC Youth Connected is a community-wide initiative to reduce teen pregnancy in communities across the state.

What does NC Youth Connected do?
NC Youth Connected partners with parents, teens, local leaders, medical providers, and youth-serving organizations to help them focus on the most effective, proven strategies for addressing teen pregnancy.

What is the goal of NC Youth Connected?
NC Youth Connected has two goals:

  1. To reduce teen pregnancy and birth rates 50% by 2020 in Cumberland County.
  2. To strengthen the capacity of Cumberland County to support teen health.

Who leads NC Youth Connected?
NC Youth Connected is a team effort. Statewide nonprofit SHIFT NC (formerly the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina) administers NC Youth Connected, and provides training and resources to help local leaders address teen pregnancy in effective ways. Cumberland County has a community advisory council that guides the initiative’s work. Local partners make their own decisions about what effective programs or strategies to use. Programs, strategies, and decisions are heavily guided by a needs assessment that includes a community survey; focus groups of parents and teens; and an analysis of local teen pregnancy data, available resources, and resource gaps.

What strategies does NC Youth Connected use?
Teen pregnancy is a complex issue, and there’s no magic bullet solution. NC Youth Connected’s multi-component, community-wide approach has been praised for its ability to successfully lower teen pregnancy rates and support teen health. Strategies used by NC Youth Connected include:

  • Helping local agencies choose and implement evidence-based health education and youth development programs.
  • Working with local healthcare providers to help them adopt best practices for serving adolescent patients and their families.
  • Linking teens and their families to adolescent-friendly healthcare.
  • Mobilizing the community to have productive conversations about teen pregnancy and effective solutions.
  • Finding ways to meet the needs of more vulnerable or at-risk youth.

Who funds NC Youth Connected?
The federal Office of Adolescent Health provides funding under their Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives.  Funding was awarded as a part of a highly selective, competitive process that factored in need, community interest, and a likelihood of success.

Why was Cumberland County selected?
While Cumberland County has a persistently high teen pregnancy and STD rates, the county also has local leadership who are deeply committed to addressing the issues.

Is NC Youth Connected a program? Does NC Youth Connected use a specific program?
No. NC Youth Connected is a multi-component, community-wide initiative that addresses the needs of teens and parents by engaging multiple sectors of the community. Some local partners will implement evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention and youth development programs. Local partners can freely choose from a wide-ranging list of the 35 programs that have been proven to reduce teen pregnancy.

What about parents? Does NC Youth Connected substitute a parent’s role?
Research clearly and consistently demonstrates that parents play a major role in helping teens grow up healthy, including their sexual health. Research shows:

  • Teens listen to their parents when they talk about sex – and parents’ voices matter more to teens than friends or the media.
  • Teens say it would be easier to avoid having sex if their parents could have open and honest conversations with them about sex.
  • Parents’ tone and comments about sex and birth control make a difference. Teens who hear negative comments about sex and birth control are often afraid to seek information and care when they need it. In fact, the number one reason sexually active teens don’t use birth control is because they’re worried their parents will find out they’re having sex.

Can I/my organization participate?
Yes! As NC Youth Connected moves forward, there will be lots of different opportunities for engagement, including receiving alerts, attending or hosting events, or sharing information about teen pregnancy with people you know. Visit our Get Involved pages for more information.

Can I/my organization get funding?
As good stewards of taxpayer dollars, we are required to follow specific guidelines for funding. Our biggest restriction is that we must invest in proven programs and in agencies that have the ability to reach at-risk youth and families in effective ways.

If you feel you can help, please let us know! Contact Us and we'll be in touch soon.

Is NC Youth Connected pushing a specific agenda?
NC Youth Connected focuses on proven programs and strategies (also called "evidence-based”). These programs and strategies are effective at preventing teen pregnancy and are recognized as age-appropriate for teens by groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics. We follow a public health approach, and are not a religious, partisan, or ideological group.

We strongly encourage parents to talk openly and honestly about sexual health, relationships, and more with their teens – and we encourage them to be “askable.” We also work to ensure that parents have easy access to programs and teen-friendly healthcare so that they have the support they need from the community to help raise healthy children.

Does NC Youth Connected receive funding from Planned Parenthood?
No. All funding comes from the Office of Adolescent Health, a federal agency.