WASHINGTON, DC -- The District of Columbia Public School system has cut funding for their New Heights program from their 2018 budget proposal. The New Heights program is a DC-born program for expectant and parenting teenagers to improve graduation rates and navigate the challenges of pregnancy and parenting while attending high school. Additionally, the New Heights program provides educational workshops aimed at reducing future unintended pregnancy.
Through one-on-one counseling, sex education, and support through graduation, DC’s New Heights program has been extremely successful, according to research from Mathematica published in 2017. With the New Heights program, the rate of subsequent births amongst participants dropped to 3%; a notable difference from the overall DC rate at 13%.
“The New Heights program provides the support that is needed to reach the most vulnerable youth populations in DC,” said Dr. Laura Meyers, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC. “When expectant or parenting girls receive a high school diploma, it opens up so many doors that may otherwise have been shut.”
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC’s sex education programs reached 10,500 youth in the DC metropolitan area in 2017. Our educators worked with 6,000 youth providing health education, reached 270 youth with Evidence Based Interventions, trained 250 youth serving professionals, implemented intergenerational communication workshops with 80 mother/daughter pairs, and participated in 190 community engagement events. PPMW strives to make positive impacts on young women in the area.
“Planned Parenthood works directly with high school students through our sex education programs every year, so we see the impact that programs like New Heights have on teenage girls” said Dr. Meyers. “I am appalled that DC Public Schools would even consider cutting funding for it.”