Inventory of Sexual Education and Reproductive Health Resources in Upper Delaware

Reinicker, Polly
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University of Delaware
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011 Delaware ranked number one in the U.S. for percentage of sexually experienced youth, number two for percentage of sexually active youth, and number three for percentage of youth with three or more sexual partners. In addition to Delaware ranking at the top of the United States for sexual activity, the U.S. ranks at the top of the industrialized world for sexual activity, teen birth rates, and sexually transmitted infections. In Delaware, sexuality education and reproductive health services are provided to youth from a variety of different sources, the most prominent of these being schools and non-profit organizations. The present study included a literature review of global, national, and local sexuality education policies and programs, and 14 interviews with sexuality education professionals in public schools, private schools, religious schools, non-profit organizations, and state departments located in New Castle County, Delaware. The purpose of this research study was to explore these sexuality education programs, particularly focusing on the main debate between teaching abstinence-only versus comprehensive education. While comprehensive health education is required across all public schools in Delaware, private schools are not held to any specific standard. The main goals in this study included discovering the key players in sexuality education, the methods and approaches used by these institutions, and the relative effectiveness of these programs in reaching their targeted population.