Arkansas: Sex Education Money Pursued Two Ways
September 8, 2010
Arkansas has applied for federal grants for both abstinence-based comprehensive sex education and abstinence-only programming, state Department of Health officials said Friday. In August, the department announced that the state did not have the necessary 43 percent in state matching funds to pursue the abstinence-only grant. That changed when a state lawmaker and two groups pledged to raise private funds for the state's portion, said Ann Wright, a spokesperson for ADH.
The abstinence-only grant application was "written with the stipulation that all state matching funds are provided by the private sector agencies who receive the funds," Wright said. The state will decide which agencies will receive abstinence-only grants. The application is for $619,862, with $467,615 to be raised by private groups.
In June, the Conway-based group Choosing to Excel approached Rep. Robbie Wills (D-Conway) about raising money for the state's part of the obligation in order to secure federal abstinence funds, Wills said. Several existing abstinence programs will have to work together to raise the funds, said Thelma Moton, CTE's executive director.
The comprehensive sex education grants, which are funded entirely by the federal government, will go to groups that teach about contraceptives and life skills. In Arkansas, the program will initially focus on youth in foster care in Pulaski County, home to 15 percent of the state's foster kids ages 10-19 in 2009, according to the Children in Foster Care Data Center. Additional areas across the state will be added as necessary, Wright said. The application requests $485,372.
"For the size of the grant, this is a population that we hope we can impact," Wright said. The funding will go to groups that already work with foster youth.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)
09.04.2010; Sarah D. Wire
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