Questions About Heritage Keepers Curricula
Questions About Heritage Community Services
Questions About Program Effectiveness
Questions About Program Implementation In Schools/Agencies
Questions About Heritage Resources for Adults

 

 

Questions About Heritage Keepers Curricula

No. None of the Heritage Keepers programs are faith-based. The Heritage Keepers programs are based on science and widely accepted research. Each of the Heritage Keepers curricula are fully referenced and approved for medical accuracy. Though the curricula are not faith-based, many types of faith organizations (churches, temples, synagogues, etc.) have found that the curricula are compatible with their current teachings about sex.

Yes. The Heritage Keepers program has been evaluated and approved for medical accuracy by the U. S. Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (OAPP). The OAPP also reviewed the Heritage curricula to ensure it meets federal statutory prohibitions against advocating, promoting, encouraging, or providing abortions, and reviewed and approved it for consistency with the A-H definition of abstinence education as set out in Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, as amended.

Yes. The Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program was added in 2012 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services list of 31 evidence-based (proven effective) teen pregnancy prevention programs. A year after Heritage Keepers, program students initiated sex at a rate 67% lower than that of comparison students. Scientifically derived mediators of teen sex are identified and addressed by the program, and it is the program’s application of this theoretical foundation that was found to be the cause of the strong and long-lasting behavioral differences between the program and comparison students. This study was of 2,215 students in 41 schools, with 63% African American and 37% Caucasian or “other.” Heritage Keepers is not a “feel good” program or a “just say no” program. Social science theory and methodology are foundational to the development of all Heritage Keepers programs. Please see our theory and methodology section for more information about our evidence-based approach. The program was also evaluated and approved by the U. S. Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (OAPP) for scientific referencing.

Yes. The Heritage Keepers program meets all 66 standards of the SMARTool (Systematic Method for Assessing Risk-avoidance Tool). In fact, the Heritage Keepers program is cited on page 68 of the SMARTool as an example of a risk avoidance abstinence education program that incorporates the evidence-based standards cited in the SMARTool.

Yes. The Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program was added in 2012 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services list of 31 evidence-based (proven effective) teen pregnancy prevention programs. A year after Heritage Keepers, program students initiated sex at a rate 67% lower than that of comparison students. This study was of 2,215 students in 41 schools, with 63% African American and 37% Caucasian or “other.” Scientifically derived mediators of teen sex are identified and addressed by the program, and it is the program’s application of this theoretical foundation that was found to be the cause of the strong and long-lasting behavioral differences between the program and comparison students. There have been 3 studies validating the success of the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program. The Heritage program had a strong and long-lasting positive impact on the behavior of program students, as well as on the mediators that predict sexual initiation. Please see our evaluation section for a detailed explanation of the conclusions from each study.

No. The Heritage program was found to be effective across race, age and gender and in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Therefore, it is not a program limited to smaller subgroups. Please see the evaluation section for more information.

Yes. Heritage Keepers certified abstinence educators are instructed in the varying Typologies of Sexual Activity (as discussed in the theory and methodology section) before entering the classroom. Heritage recognizes that in every setting, there are differing levels of sexual activity, and an effective program should address all types. The complex typologies range from “Abstainers” who have never had penile-vaginal intercourse to “Multiples” who report more than one sexual partner and also includes a category for those who have been sexually abused. Educators make the curriculum relevant to every student, no matter their sexual history. Pre and post tests given to each student as well as one of our studies also indicate that the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program encourages re-commitment to abstinence. Please see our evaluation section for more information.

Yes. Extensive independent evaluation of more than 125,000 SC students at approximately 500 schools and agencies since 2003 indicates the program is effective with middle and high school students, males and females, whites and African Americans and in urban, suburban and rural settings. Further, the curricula and surveys used are also available in Spanish language format for those youth for whom English is not their first language. Heritage delivers the program to a broad range of ethnic groups, across age, race and gender, and does not target a particular subset of adolescents. Heritage does not believe in withholding important health information based on gender, race, gender, economic status, sexual experience or sexual orientation.

The Heritage Keepers curriculum was written around federal abstinence education funding. Heritage Keepers has long been approved by the National Abstinence Clearinghouse for adherence to federal A-H legislative requirements for abstinence education as set forth in Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, as amended. The standards are as follows:

(A) has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;

(B) teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;

(C) teaches that abstinence is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;

(D) teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;

(E) teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;

(F) teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society;

(G) teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and

(H) teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.

· Listed as one of only 31 proven-effective teen pregnancy prevention programs by U.S. Health and Human Services, meaning that it made it through rigorous review processes that looked at over 1000 studies of teen pregnancy prevention programs. Heritage Keepers program students initiated sex at a rate 1/3 that of similar non-program students as measured a year after the program.

· Reviewed and approved by the National Abstinence Clearinghouse.

· Approval and continuing review by a federally sanctioned Institutional Review Board.

· Behavioral outcomes published in peer-reviewed article: One year after the program, students initiated sex at a rate 67% lower than that of comparison students

· Recognized by SMARTool authors as an example of effective application of best practices in risk avoidance abstinence education

· Evaluations (over the past ten years) of more than 150,000 nationally and 125,000 SC students in public and private schools, group homes and faith-based settings

· On-going evaluation and fidelity-to-plan processes applied in each class taught; data-based monitoring and improvement strategies

· Program development, training and evaluation integrate scientific theory and methodology throughout

· Proven effective in urban, rural and suburban settings across age (middle and high school), race (black and white), and gender (male and female)

Heritage does not sell the curriculum or training without a signed Memorandum of Understanding. Heritage also requires that any educator wishing to use the Heritage Keepers programs must first complete a training before teaching the Heritage Keepers programs. See the Training and Curricula page for pricing.

Yes.Confidential post-survey results show that teens enjoy and appreciate the Heritage Keepers program. Every Heritage Keepers student is given pre and post program surveys (unless opted out by their parent/guardian) that measure outcomes on predictors of teen sex as well as students’ opinions of the program. Students’ opinions on the program are typically as follows:

90% of program students would recommend the program to a friend.

93% of program students believe the sex education program has helped them feel more confident in their ability to resist peer pressure to have sex.

94% of program students liked the presentations by the program teacher.

93% of program students liked the program exercises and activities.

90% of program students reported their Heritage teacher knew the subject matter well.

90% of program students reported their Heritage teacher cared about the students.

87% of program students reported their Heritage teacher made the class interesting and enjoyable.

91% of program students reported their Heritage teacher gave clear and understandable explanations.

90% of program students reported their Heritage teacher related topics in class to everyday life.

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Questions About Heritage Community Services

Heritage Community Services was incorporated as a SC non-profit in 1995 and received federal 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 1998. Heritage got its start contracting with the US Navy to deliver an abstinence education program to reduce unintended pregnancies among single 18 to 25 year-old enlistees working at their hospitals. Shortly thereafter, Heritage began offering abstinence education programs to teens in schools and agencies. Heritage has been successfully implementing abstinence education programs for 18 years.

No. Heritage is a non-sectarian, 501(c)3 nonprofit. None of the Heritage Keepers programs are faith-based. The Heritage Keepers programs are based on science and widely accepted research.

Heritage’s mission is to strengthen the character of America’s adolescents and our communities – one individual, one family and one institution at a time. Heritage provides a multi-faceted plan to immerse a whole community in a healthy family formation message, giving everyone an opportunity to learn and participate. The main goal of the Heritage program is to communicate the realities of sexual activity and the benefits of forming healthy families to not only adolescents, but to their parents and community leaders. Heritage’s ultimate goal is two-fold: (1) increase the proportion of adolescents abstaining from sexual activity and (2) increase support for abstinence among the adults who influence them. The program is culturally sensitive, provides for parent/guardian review, and requires parent/guardian permission. Behavioral results attest to the success of the programs.

Heritage Community Services has served more than 250,000 teens since 1998 with a message that helped them grasp the social, psychological and health gains realized by abstaining from non-marital sexual activity. In addition to serving teens in South Carolina, Heritage also has served students in St Lucia and contracted with agencies in Kentucky, Maine, Rhode Island, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, Oregon and American Samoa to serve young people.

Heritage’s management and control procedures have ensured fiscal responsibility. Since Heritage Community Services first applied for a competitive grant, annual audits have been conducted by independent CPA firms. Since 1999 when Heritage Community Services’ federal funding exceeded the threshold established by US Office of Management and Budget Circular A 133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non Profit Organization, Heritage Community Services began having a Single Audit, as required by Circular A 133. On all audits, the auditors noted clean, or unqualified, audit opinions on financial statements. In addition to an independent auditor, Heritage Community Services’ accounting procedures are overseen by an independent public accounting firm that acts as the company’s controller.

Yes! All donations to Heritage Community Services are tax deductible. Please visit the donate section of our website.

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Questions About Program Effectiveness

Survey questions are proprietary to Stan Weed, PhD of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, as he created the survey questions after evaluating abstinence programs for more than 30 years in multiple countries with hundreds of thousands of teens. Pre surveys are administered before the sessions begin and post surveys are administered at the conclusion. Some students are followed up for behavioral outcomes. Comparison students are identified and matched by demographics, sexual experience and scientifically-derived “mediating variables” of teen sex. The Heritage survey includes demographic, behavioral and attitudinal items that are later electronically grouped into predetermined “mediating variables.” Demographic items include gender, ethnicity/race, and age. The behavioral items include questions about whether or not students have ever had sex and also have follow-up questions about frequency, last time, and condom use. Mediating variables are measured by items that group into six constructs that measure the following:

·Abstinence Values: measures the student commitment to maintaining sexual abstinence until marriage and their acceptance of the idea that marriage is the most appropriate context for sexual activity.

·Abstinence Efficacy: assesses student confidence in their ability to resist peer pressure to have sex, to avoid situations that would compromise their abstinence position, and to disengage from people who try to pressure them to have sex.

·Justifications for Sex: measures the rationalizing that adolescents often engage in to legitimize their initiation of sexual activity, such as being in love.

·Behavioral Intentions: measures the students’ level of intent and commitment to abstain from sexual activity in the coming year and until marriage.

·Future Orientation: measures the adolescents’ beliefs about the possible future consequences of sexual activity.

·Sexual Independence from Peers: measures the ability of the student to reject negative peer pressure to initiate sexual activity.

Outcome objectives are measured by additional survey items. Questions on pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, personal impacts, refusal or assertiveness skills, and the intention to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage are included. Each student is also asked questions related to whether or not they enjoyed the program and the educator teaching it.

Survey data recording students’ pre- to post-program change using the mediating variables is calculated at the end of each presentation of the curriculum and has been verified by an independent third-party evaluator to assess program effectiveness. Internally, to assess educator effectiveness, each educator is given feedback to allow rapid adjustments to teaching methods when they are needed. Educators with weak improvement on specific scales are provided with strategies and continuing education for improvement.

Heritage Community Services’ program and evaluation process has been approved by, and is under the supervision of a federally sanctioned Institutional Review Board (IRB) for program content, implementation and evaluation forms, and processes and procedures. This IRB approval provides protection for the vulnerable populations (minors) served. IRBs are responsible for ensuring that the rights and welfare of the subjects are adequately protected.The formation and composition of federally sanctioned IRBs is overseen by the federal Office of Human Research Protections.

The study used by HHS that determined the effectiveness of the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program is a 2011 research article by Stan Weed, PhD, of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, which can be found here.The article went through a rigorous review by Mathematica (see the review process) to determine behavioral effectiveness.

Heritage Keepers has two published studies, one on the Heritage Keepers® Abstinence Education program and one on the Heritage Keepers Life Skills program. The third study showing effectiveness is being edited for submission for publication. For more information on these studies, please visit our evaluation section.

Two of the studies done on the Heritage Keepers programs were conducted by The Institute for Research and Evaluation and one study was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research.

For the study reviewed by Mathematica that resulted in Heritage Keepers being placed on the federal list of 31 evidence-based programs, Dr. Stan Weed received no compensation. For the article published in 2005 by US HHS, Dr. Stan Weed received a percentage of a grant that mandated third party evaluation. Mathematica was paid directly by the Federal government for their role in evaluating Heritage programs.

No. Federal grants require a percentage of the grant be paid directly to an independent evaluator by the agency under contract. Under the federal abstinence education money, Community Based Abstinence Education grants, 5% of each program’s budget was mandated to be spent on third party independent evaluation. It is common practice in federally-funded and some state-funded grants that the grantee secure an “independent evaluator” and identify appropriated funds in the grant application. Although most people may not be familiar with this process, many examples of this practice are found in www.grants.gov.

The duty of an independent evaluator is to provide an objective and impartial opinion. The Institute for Research and Evaluation was chosen as the independent third party evaluator because of the Institute’s long history of evaluating abstinence education programs, as well as its role as an evaluation expert consultant for major Federal abstinence education funding streams. A grantee who is offering abstinence education would select an evaluator that is conversant with abstinence education (just as a grantee who has a grant to offer family planning services secures an evaluation researcher who is familiar with family planning, and a drug manufacturer would choose someone who has experience in pharmaceutical research). Consequently, it is counter-intuitive for anyone to infer that it would be preferential for Heritage Keepers to utilize an evaluation consultant unfamiliar with the priorities and mandates of a program to evaluate effectiveness.

However, the most recent study of the Heritage program was done independently by Dr. Stan Weed, who received no compensation for the analysis and subsequent article submitted for review for inclusion in the proven effective programs list.

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Questions About Program Implementation In Schools/Agencies

The core program, the Heritage KeepersAbstinence Education program, requires 450 minutes. Also available are Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education II (600 minutes) and five life skills follow-up programs (each with 12 lessons that range from 45-60 minutes) for students.

Yes, as long as the school is not under a Federal grant that prohibits it.Using the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program does not prevent use of any other sexual education programs. Schools are not limited to only providing an abstinence curriculum to their students.

Yes, as long as the school is not under a Federal grant that prohibits it.Using the Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education program does not prevent use of any other sexual education programs. Schools are not limited to only providing an abstinence curriculum to their students.

The Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education curriculum is a high-impact program with each lesson intended to be presented sequentially, with students receiving Heritage Keepers every day for five days in 90-minute classes or 10 days in 45-minute classes, for a total of 450 minutes. The school determines in what classes/programs it will be implemented–most commonly, our certified educators work in health, PE or JROTC classes. It can also be presented over fewer days if in a “retreat” type setting. The Heritage Keepers Life Skills program is adaptable to fit specific needs.

Only trained Heritage Keepers educators can present the curriculum. A classroom teacher could present the curriculum after receiving training and certification. If the certified Heritage Keepers educator is not the typical classroom teacher, then Heritage recommends a Site Approved Representative be in the classroom with the Heritage Keepers educator at all times. The Site Approved Representative should be the person normally in charge of the students, such as the regular classroom teacher. This recommendation allows another adult to witness conversations that discuss sex to minors as an added measure of accountability.

Heritage recommends genders be separated for the entire curriculum unless absolutely not possible. Also, Heritage prefers that males teach male classes and females teach female classes. Heritage has found that this practice allows for more open communication and a more relaxed classroom atmosphere when dealing with this subject.

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Questions About Heritage Resources for Adults

Yes. Heritage has created a book that empowers parents to teach their children the skills needed to abstain from sex entitled Sex, Lies and Hook-Ups: A Parent’s Guide for Fighting Back.

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