|The 3rs in California|
In 2000, Advocates led a team of four policy makers from California on the EST. These individuals participated with the intention of promoting the European approach in California through then-governor Gray Davis’ administration. While in Europe, the California team designed a policy plan with three goals: 1) to educate policy makers on the benefits of comprehensive sex education; 2) to compile information on what parents want and what young people need in sex education; and 3) to hold policy makers accountable for responding to concerns of parents and youth. Thus, the group returned from the tour armed with both a strategy and information and resources to help them attempt to shift adolescent reproductive and sexual health policy and programs in California towards the European model.
Following the study tour, Advocates hosted a strategy session to further develop the group’s policy plan. Participants included the team, the Director of Advocates’ Media Project, five California participants from earlier study tours, and representatives from state agencies involved in teen pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS education, reproductive health care, and adolescent health research and programming. The state team made over 30 presentations to a wide variety of organizations, including several Planned Parenthood affiliates, teachers’ groups, public health organizations, and state legislators’ staff. Local radio stations and newspapers carried interviews with team members.
In addition, immediately following the tour, one of the core California team members, the state’s Director of Family Planning, began developing a plan to promote legislation to allow emergency contraception access through pharmacists in the state. The legislation passed within a year. The same study tour participant also funded and implemented a public education media campaign utilizing messages and approaches seen in European campaigns.
Later in the year, Advocates teamed up with the California Family Health Council and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California to host successful policy briefings on sex education in Los Angeles and San Diego. Because of these successes, a private foundation provided funds for Advocates to take eight more Californians—including policy experts from local boards of education, city councils, and city and county agencies—on the 2002 study tour.