Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact [PDF]
Name of Program: Maryland Abstinence Education and Coordination Program (MAECP)
Federal Funding Source: Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act (entitlement for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs established under "Welfare Reform" in 1996)
Funds Allocated: In federal fiscal year 2003, Maryland received $535,712 in federal Title V funding. Maryland provided an additional $320,000 in state funds for the abstinence-only initiative, bringing the total allocation of public funds to $855,712 for the fiscal year. An additional $81,784 was secured from private sources to help meet Maryland's state matching requirement.
Program Reach/Program Components: MAECP is administered by the Center for Maternal and Child Health. The program focuses on youth between ages nine and 18, living in areas of the state that have adolescent pregnancy rates higher than the statewide average. The program's components include a media campaign, after school programs, and an annual conference. The private funds, secured to help the state meet its matching funds requirement, support the Best Friends program, implemented in Baltimore City schools. Approximately 800 students participated in the state's after school programs.
Target Population: Youth nine through 18 years of age
Timing of Program/Evaluation: 1998 to 2002 (first four years)
Evaluation Design: Evaluation focused on four years of cumulative data from pilot programs implemented during the first four years of Maryland's abstinence-only initiative. About 400 students completed a pre- and posttest survey.*
Findings: Preliminary findings for pre- and posttest scores on overall knowledge, attitudes, and practices showed no significant change. There was a slight, but not statistically significant, increase in the percentage of students who indicated that they could stick to a decision not to have sex. There was a three percent increase in the number of students who indicated they definitely would remain abstinent for the remainder of the year. The proportion of students who indicated that they would probably remain abstinent until they completed high school or got married declined. The proportion of students reporting abstinent behavior in the year prior to the survey declined from pretest to posttest (80 to 70 percent).
Quote from Authors of the Evaluation Study:
The State of Maryland did not release the final report, so we were not able to publish anything related to it.
*Note: Advocates attempted numerous times, without success, to contact the administrators of the Maryland Abstinence Education and Coordination Program (MAECP) to obtain the full evaluation study. The first author of the evaluation replied to a query about the full report as quoted above. Thus, Advocates was unable to study the full evaluation, its design, or the data it yielded. The results presented here are from the abstract of a presentation at the 130th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association.
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Hauser D. Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2004.