Walking the Plain Talk: Protecting Sexually Active Teens in Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Diego
This report provides an examination of Plain Talk, an initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. The core principles of Plain Talk are (1) unambiguous adult messages about protecting sexually active teens, and (2) access to age-appropriate adolescent health services. In creating Plain Talk, the Casey Foundation sought to adapt European principles of clear communication about protection to a neighborhood-scale initiative that engaged a broad range of community adults in receiving and disseminating accurate information about adolescent sexuality and contraceptives. Operating in five neighborhoods between 1994 and 1998, Plain Talk provided more than $5 million in grants and technical assistance for surveying local attitudes, behaviors, and reproductive health resources; training residents to lead community education workshops that help adults speak with youth about responsible sexual decision-making; and improving the quantity and quality of reproductive health care for adolescents. In the three sites where there was extensive ethnographic and outcomes research (neighborhoods in Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Diego), independent evaluators concluded that Plain Talk worked in its goals of improving communication and changing behaviors. The report includes an overview of the program evaluation of Plain Talk conducted by Public/Private Ventures at the three sites.