Recognizing 50 Years of Critical Family Planning Services Made Possible by Title X Grants

Recognizing 50 Years of Critical Family Planning Services Made Possible by Title X Grants

Jan 22, 2021
Daniel Shapiro and Llewelyn Brown
Celebrating 50 Years of Title X

For the last 50 years, Title X Family Planning Services grants have provided critical family planning and preventative health services to families throughout the United States. These grants are instrumental in ensuring access to needed services for millions of people with low incomes, people who lack health insurance, or people who might otherwise have no access to help with family planning. Grantees provide individualized counseling, pregnancy testing, and other services to help couples achieve their desired family size. They test for sexually transmitted infections and screen for cervical cancer.

In the half-century of their existence, Title X grants have provided services to more than 190 million women and men. In 2019, 47 state and local health departments and 53 nonprofit family planning and community health agencies were Title X grantees. Through a national network of 3,825 service sites, and with $286.5 million in Title X funding, these providers served over 3.1 million clients last year through nearly 4.7 million individual family planning encounters. About 40 percent of those clients did not have health insurance, and nearly two-thirds had family incomes below the federal poverty level.*

Administered by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Title X program, program grantees, and providers sit at the intersection of the country’s health and human service safety nets. They provide quality family planning services in areas such as contraception, pregnancy testing and counseling, infertility services, and treating sexually transmitted diseases. The program is vital to ensuring that voluntary and confidential family planning services are available to low-income individuals across the country. In addition, current Title X regulations include a focus on protecting women and children from being victimized by child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate partner violence, and trafficking. All Title X clinics are required to provide related training for staff annually, and to have a site-specific protocol in place to report crime and protect victims. Many grantees are making concerted efforts to reach historically marginalized populations. For example, in April 2020, the Reproductive Health and Wellness Program in Ohio received funding to reach out to specific populations such as people with substance use disorder, incarcerated women and men, the homeless, adolescents, and LGBTQ+ clients, among others.

“They aren’t just here for reproductive health care. They’re here for groceries, oil changes, general health care—and it might be the whole family.” – Manager of the South Dakota Department of Health Family Planning Program.

Title X grantees are a corps of frontline service providers dedicated to supporting and guiding some of the most vulnerable and needy communities across the country. Collecting data about their efforts, and using those data to effectively inform decisions about resource investment, targeted services, and technical assistance needs, is an essential tool for program leaders. OPA provides this support to grantees and their partners through system development services, training and technical assistance, and insights developed by using data analytics.

Mathematica is working with OPA and the Title X grantee community to infuse more advanced technology into existing data systems. To help grantees better track and monitor their activities, we are creating a new, state-of-the-art data collection and reporting system. Data from this system will be used to produce reports to Congress, monitor performance and compliance, provide information to the public, and support data-driven decision making. They will be the foundation of advanced analytics and data visualizations that will shed new light on program performance. The Family Planning Annual Report (FPAR) 2.0 is an exciting opportunity to significantly elevate and expand the quality of data that Title X providers share about their services. It will also reduce administrative burden for both OPA and the program grantees.

Under FPAR 2.0, grantees will provide OPA with detailed, but protected, clinical data on individual encounters at a Title X provider. This information will make it possible for grantees and OPA to gain a more detailed understanding of the current state of the program and enable them to improve the quality of the services they deliver. OPA will have an enhanced capacity to assess grantee performance, service provision, and compliance with legislative mandates. FPAR 2.0 can also help the grantees develop their own custom reports and analyses, which will give them expanded ability to target services to those most in need of help. The new system will automate common procedures, such as tabulating and checking basic counts of how many clients are served and what types of services are provided. Working together with OPA and the grantees to design, develop, and deploy this next-generation data collection and reporting system means these grantees will spend less time on administrative documentation and more time providing frontline services to people who need help. Ultimately, FPAR 2.0 will make it easier for OPA and program administrators to use data to improve their support of family planning services throughout the nation’s public health system.

*Fowler, C. I., Gable, J., Lasater, B., & Asman, K. (2020, September). Family Planning Annual Report: 2019 National Summary. Washington, DC: Office of Population Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

About the Authors

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Daniel Shapiro

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Llewelyn Brown

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