Colorado Youth Matter's Family Engagement Initiative
Parents are the most important sexual health educators in the lives of young people, therefore engaged families can help make a meaningful and lasting impact on youth sexual health in Colorado. Below is a compilation of resources to help cultivate family champions across the state who are in support of all youth having access to comprehensive sexual health education, resources and services.
- Family Engagement: with respect to youth sexual health, can be explained as the purposeful interaction with and among individual, families, schools, communities and systems to actively support youth’s access to comprehensive sex education, resources and services.
- Families: are diverse networks of parents, grandparents, guardians, family members, adult mentors, community members and youth.
- Parents, including guardians or others, are those whom take responsibility for providing for the primary needs of a young person.
- Askable Adult: is an adult that young people see as open to questions (approachable).
- Family Advocate: someone who wants to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the sexual health of young people (motivated to take action).
Resources for Family Engagement
In response to requests from Colorado sexual health professionals, communities and families, Colorado Youth Matter has created a Family Engagement online resource hub, a growing collection of tools and resources to help families make a meaningful and lasting impact on youth sexual health.
Websites - Portals for parent and/or family specific information
Research and Publications - Local and national reports and articles
- Colorado Family Advocate Survey Summary 2013 (Colorado Youth Matter/Publications) - This report highlights results from Colorado Youth Matter's statewide survey of parents and adult attitudes, motivation and challenges to advocating for youth sexual health and becoming "askable adults."
- Colorado Families Want Comprehensive Sex Education (Colorado Youth Matter/Publications) - Colorado Youth Matter's summary of existing national and state data on attitudes toward youth sexual health and comprehensive sex education. Read the full report or the abridged report.
- Parent Power (The National Campaign to Prevent to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy) - Teens consistently say that parents--not peers, not partners, not popular culture--most influence their decisions about sex.
- With One Voice 2012 (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy) - The latest in a series of national surveys dating back to 2001 commissioned and released by The National Campaign. These surveys have asked teens and adults a core set of questions about sex, contraception, teen pregnancy, and related issues.
- Parents and Parental Involvement (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy)
- Parent-Child Communication: Promoting Sexually Healthy Youth (Advocates for Youth) - This synopsis provides a review of empirical research on the relationship between parent-child communication and positive sexual health among youth.
- What Works For Parent Involvement Programs for Adolescents (Child Trends) - This report examines the quality of the parents' relationship and positive outcomes for children and families across various population subgroups, especially among disadvantaged groups.
- “Because You’re On Birth Control, It Automatically Makes You Promiscuous or Something”: Latina Women’s Perceptions of Parental Approval to Use Reproductive Health Care (Child Trends) - This report examines the finding that suggest young adult Latinas perceive parents as playing an important role in their sexual and reproductive health seeking behaviors into adulthood.
- Parent-Child Connectedness (ETR Associates) - In their efforts to develop a program to improve parent-child relationships, ETR Associates compiled and reviewed existing research on the relationship between parent-child communication, connectedness and other relationship indicators and youth sexual health outcomes.
Tools and Toolkits - Engagement activities/options for professionals and/or families
- Parent Support Letter: Express support to the school for the comprehensive sexual health education being provided to students
- Parent Request Letter: Request that a school provides comprehensive sexual health education to students
- Parent Complaint Letter: Voice concerns to the school about the sexual health education
- Parent Letters to Schools about Comprehensive Sex Education (Colorado Youth Matter). These are adaptable template letters for families to use if they want. Colorado Youth Matter can provide updated information (statistics, research, legislative interpretation, etc...) to support your letter adaptation efforts. Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts to help ensure all Colorado youth having access to comprehensive sex education.
- Let's Talk Tablemat (Colorado Youth Matter) - This tool helps spark and normalize reoccurring conversations at the dinner table in a safe, fun way. Directions included.
- Let's Talk Month Toolkit (Advocates for Youth) - This toolkit provides resources and suggested activities for honoring the national month on parent-child communication about sex (October).
- Advocacy Kit (Advocates for Youth) - This advocacy kit contains information on basic components of an advocacy campaign. Specific sections address working in groups to identify and achieve goals, build coalitions, public education and media campaigns and lobbying the legislative process.
- Community Action Kit (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States - SIECUS) - An all-you-need-to-know guide to becoming an advocate for comprehensive adolescent sexual health education and services.
Curricula and Programs - Parent specific or have parent specific components
- Growing Up Wise (Colorado Youth Matter) - Growing Up Wise is a two hour skill-building workshop for parents on effective parent child communication strategies (creating “door openers,” “teachable moments”). Participants practice scenarios in a safe space with the goal of being more comfortable discussing sexual health topics with their own teens.
- Parent-Child Connectedness (ETR & Associates) – This multi-session curriculum is designed to increase parent/participant skills and knowledge of parent-child connectedness and improve broader relationship indicators within the parent-child dynamic.
- Parent-Child Communication Programs Summary (Advocates for Youth) – This report is a summary list of programs and related evidence of the programs’ effectiveness to increase parent-child communication about sex.
- Strengthening Families (LutraGroup) – An evidence-based family skills training program found to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children and to improve social competencies and school performance.
- Families Talking Together (FTT) - An evidence-based program designed to help Latino parents better communicate with their children and teens about healthy relationships, sex, contraceptive use, and preventing pregnancy. The FTT intervention—both the community health worker curriculum and parent materials---are available online, free of charge.
Age-Appropriate Information - Websites with searchable information by age-group
The following are resources that provide guidance, activities or resources to help parents identify what is age-appropriate information to provide to the young people in their lives.
- Advocates for Youth - Growth and Development
- Rutgers University, Answer Sex Ed, Honestly - Resources for Parents
- There’s No Place Like Home…For Sex Education (Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon) – For adults who want to have effective, important conversations with the young people in your lives
- Sex, Etc. Magazine - This magazine allows teens to hear directly from other teens about the sexual health issues they face every day. Backed by adult health professionals at Answer, these teen-written stories provide honest, accurate, comprehensive information related to sexual health, body image, relationships and much more! A great gift and tool to use for having conversations on a wide variety of topics.
- It’s Time to Talk Calendar (Advocates for Youth) - With tips for parents on communicating about health and relationships, and classic cartoons by Paul Fell, this calendar is a great gift for the parent in your life – or for yourself!
- Kids Health – Growth and Development/Sexual Health
- CH1LDREN NOW - A nonpartisan, multi-issue research, policy development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children's health and education in California and creating national media policies that support child development
- Colorado Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Standards (Colorado Department of Education-CDE) - includes sexuality health education standards by grade
- Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States-SIECUS) - The guidelines, developed by a national task force of experts in the fields of adolescent development, health care, and education, provide a framework of the key concepts, topics, and messages that all sexuality education programs would ideally include
- National Sexuality Education Standards, Core Content and Skills, K-12 (Future of Sex Education-FOSE) - Provide clear, consistent and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum core-content for sexuality education that is age-appropriate for students in grades K-12
Trainings - Related to family engagement, askable adults, and parent-child communication
- Awkward to Awesome - This workshop is meant to be a primer for youth-serving professionals to enhance their communication with youth and equip them with accurate answers and provide referrals to trustworthy and age appropriate resources.
- Between the Bells – 2 hour workshop for teachers on becoming an “askable adult” in schools. This training provides information about state and local school policies; updates on laws related to youth access to sexual health education and clinical services; and skill-building activities for teachers on how to respond to student questions or statements related to sex and sexual health with accurate information and resources.
- Growing Up Wise – Colorado Youth Matter can provide this training directly to parents, or provide a training of facilitators to educators or professionals seeking to use this program with parents/adults within their communities.
Visit the Colorado Youth Matter Training Descriptions page
for updates and additional training opportunities.