Esteban Torres High School

Los Angeles County, Planned Parenthood team up on high school health clinics

Dec. 12, 2019
Educators and health officials are working with Planned Parenthood to open 50 wellbeing centers in Los Angeles County high schools that will address students' social, emotional, and sexual health needs.

Los Angeles County agencies and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles are teaming up to open 50 wellbeing centers in area high schools that will address the social, emotional, and sexual health needs of young people.

County and school officials say the centers will provide students with the services and support they need to lead healthful lives.

“Wellbeing Centers provide students a safe space to receive information and resources on substance use prevention, sexual health, and mental health," says Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

County health officials say their research suggests that many young people lack preventative care at an age when risk is highest for starting to smoke or vape, for unsafe sex and other unhealthful behaviors including use of alcohol and other substances.

The centers will seek to educate students to adopt lifelong protective practices and will promote social and emotional wellbeing, youth leadership, and sexual health.

“Ultimately, we all want to ensure that students are given every opportunity to grow into their fullest potential, feeling loved without prejudice, as they walk confidently into their brightest futures," says Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Los Angeles County of Public Health.

Each center will be staffed by two Public Health Master’s level Health Educators, who will facilitate classes, educational groups, and activities aimed at equipping teens with information about substance use prevention, behavioral health, and sexual health.

The county's Board of Supervisors, Office of Education, and departments of Public Health and Mental Health, together with Planned Parenthood and the Los Angeles Unified School District, are partners in the effort.

The program is projected to cost at least $12 million in its first yearThe Los Angeles Times reports.

The intent is to have the program operating at 50 high schools in two years.

The centers are concentrated in communities with high poverty rates and low access to services. The facilities have reproductive health clinics where students can get birth control pills and condoms, tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, emergency contraception such as Plan B, and pregnancy testing and referrals — services far beyond what is typically offered by school nurses.

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