Improving Our Access to Adolescents Webinar

Improving Our Access to Adolescents: Lessons Learned from the Field!

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Date & Time:
December 18, 2013, 10:30AM - 12:00PM


  • Jane Powers, Director, ACT for Youth Center of Excellence
  • Mary Maley, Extension Associate, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University
  • Michelle Gerka, Vice President, CAI
  • Elizabeth Jones, Project Director, NYS Center of Excellence for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services, CAI

Through its multi-pronged initiative to support family planning agencies in addressing factors that influence the proportion of clients leaving with an effective form of contraception, the New York State Center of Excellence for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services (NYS COE) has identified central themes across regions and agency types. This anecdotal information suggests that: (1) some family planning programs have limited capacity to provide effective contraceptive counseling to clients, especially those who are ambivalent or resistant; and (2) same-day contraception is not always available to all clients who do not have an appointment for contraceptive management.

The ACT (Assets Coming Together) for Youth Center of Excellence conducted a series of focus groups with Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) grantees statewide in 2012. Focus groups aimed to understand how adolescents in New York State think about "family planning," as well as identify the barriers they face to accessing contraception and family planning services. Key findings from the 36 focus groups mirrored those documented in national studies. More specifically: (1) adolescents expressed a desire to prevent pregnancy but described uncertainty with taking actionable steps to prevent pregnancy; (2) adolescents - like the broader population - have misconceptions about contraceptive methods, specifically long-acting reversible contraception (LARC); and (3) systems in place at family planning agencies are not always consistent to how adolescents want to be treated. These findings reiterate the need for family planning programs to enhance their capacity to deliver effective contraceptive counseling, and institute systems that remove financial and logistical barriers to access. They also emphasize the importance of communicating confidentiality protections to adolescents.

The purpose of this Webinar was to identify best practices for addressing some of the barriers to accessing contraception and family planning that were identified by focus group participants.