Meeting the reproductive health care needs of adolescents: California's Family Planning Access, Care, and Treatment Program

Claire D Brindis, Lori Llewelyn, Kate Marie, Maya Blum, Antonia Biggs, Catherine Maternowska
Journal of Adolescent Health 2003, 32 (6): 79-90

PURPOSE: To examine the effect of the California Office of Family Planning's Family Access, Care, and Treatment Program (Family PACT), which was established in 1997 to provide comprehensive, reproductive health services for low-income adolescents and adults. Program evaluation was used to measure access to services, develop a profile of users, identify service utilization patterns, and assess the sensitivity of the health care system to the needs of adolescents.

METHODS: Data sources include baseline data on California's previously established family planning services, enrollment, and claims data for the first 4 years of Family PACT, client exit interviews, and on-site observations.

RESULTS: Adolescents represented 21% of all clients served by Family PACT in fiscal year 2000-2001 (FY 2000-2001). Adolescent clients served increased from 100,000 in FY 1995-1996 to more than 260,000 in FY 2000-2001(161% increase). The proportion of males has increased from 1% to 11%. In FY 2000-2001, Hispanics comprised 50% of adolescent clients, followed by 32% white, 9% African-American, and 6% Asian, Filipino, or Pacific Islander. Over one-half were aged 18 or 19 years, 42% were aged 15 to 17 years, and 5% were aged younger than 15 years. Contraceptive methods most often dispensed were barrier methods (55% for females, 72% for males), oral contraceptives (44%), contraceptive injections (16%), and emergency contraceptives (7%); 57% received sexually transmitted infection screening.

CONCLUSIONS: By linking eligibility determination to the delivery of services, removing cost barriers, increasing the numbers and types of providers offering publicly funded services, and ensuring confidentiality, greater numbers of adolescents obtained needed reproductive health care, thus ensuring an opportunity to reduce unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

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