Teen Health Mississippi is dedicated to championing public policies that ensure optimal sexual health for every Mississippi teen; and engage youth as advocates for high-quality sex education as well as affordable, confidential, and evidence-based youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services.
Most of Teen Health Mississippi’s policy work has been surrounding Mississippi’s sex education law, House Bill 999 (HB 999). With the passage of HB 999 in the Mississippi Legislature in 2011, school districts are required to adopt and implement a sex education policy – either “abstinence-only” or “abstinence-plus.” However, the bill provided no additional funding to school districts to carry out this mandate. Fortunately, the hard work of Mississippi First and the Mississippi State Department of Health to secure federal Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) dollars allowed districts choosing to implement the Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens (CHART) initiative to do so at no cost. CHART works with Mississippi school districts to increase adoption and implementation of abstinence-plus sex education policies and evidence-based, medically accurate, and age-appropriate programs. The CHART initiative is a partnership between Mississippi First, the Mississippi State Department of Health, and the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi.
In 2014, Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil) was created to engage youth in the advocacy of evidence-based, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education. Members of MYCouncil take a grassroots approach to sex education and other related sexual and reproductive health issues by mobilizing communities to speak out and get involved in an issue that is extremely important to young people today.