The Baltimore City Health Department and the U Choose Coalition were awarded a $8.5 million federal grant the groups will use to improve sex education in schools with the hopes of reducing the teen birth rate in African American and Hispanic girls by 30 percent.
The grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be doled out in $1.7 million dollar annual payments over five years, city officials said in announcing the award Monday. The U Choose Coalition is a group of non-profits, city agencies and community organizations formed to combat teen pregnancy.
The money will be used to develop comprehensive reproductive health curriculum in middle schools, high schools and clinics. Four out of ten high school students attend schools that do not meet national standards for health education, the city said.
The city's teen birth rate dropped by 32 percent between 2009 and 2013, but is still 1.5 times higher than the national rate and twice as high as the state of Maryland.