Methods: Surveys were administered by trained social work facilitators from the local health department who conducted the Making Proud Choices workshops. Workshops were held one day per week from 9am-Noon for six weeks. Survey data from 2012-2018 were combined to provide a more comprehensive narrative with a total of 120 participants. Participants were asked to rank their knowledge of healthy relationships, birth control methods, signs, and symptoms of STDS, condom use and other sexual health behaviors as “Excellent”, “Good”, “Fair” or “Poor”.
Results: Changes in knowledge after receiving the Making Proud Choices curriculum were calculated to assess the effectiveness of the program. 60% of the participants reported having a better ability to identify the characteristics of a healthy relationship, 43% reported having a better ability to make plans, 58% had a better ability to identify birth control methods, 68% reported a greater ability to identify the signs and symptoms of common STDs, 60% reported having a greater ability to describe low risk and no risk behaviors for HIV and 58% reported having a better ability to know the difference between fact and myth about HIV. For knowledge about sexting, 42% of the participants reported having a better ability to identify the negative outcomes of texting. In terms of the ability to use the problem-solving method, 64% of the participants reported having a better ability to use the method after the program. Finally, for condom use, 60% of the participants reported having a better ability to describe the steps for using a condom properly and 59% reported having a better ability to negotiate condom use with a partner.
Discussion and Conclusion: After participating in the NSEP pre-college program and receiving the Making Proud Choices curriculum, the majority of participants reported having better sexual health knowledge in most areas. Knowledge about STDs and HIV in particular was greatly improved after the program, suggesting that foster youth may have had limited information about STDs before the program. These results suggest that the Making Proud Choices curriculum is particularly effective at improving sexual health knowledge, which is essential to having healthy relationships. This program can be an important model for other pre-college programs and is a positive step in helping foster youth transitioning out of care to make healthy relationship choices.