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Deleware State Profile

The Department of Health and Social Services in Delaware received $93,978 in federal funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Fiscal Year 2007.1

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Delaware Sexuality Education Law and Policy

Delaware requires sexuality education as part of health education in kindergarten through twelfth grade. This education must be coordinated by an employee in each school district and must be overseen by a District Consolidated Application Planning Committee. The Committee must consist of teachers, parents, school nurses, community leaders, law enforcement, and other community members. Sexuality education courses must also follow the Delaware Health Education Curriculum.

Sexuality education must include an “HIV-prevention program that stresses the benefits of abstinence from high-risk behaviors.” Delaware law also sets a minimum number of hours for “comprehensive health education and family life education.” In kindergarten through grade four, this minimum is set at 30 hours in each grade, 10 of which must be dedicated to drug/alcohol education. In grades five and six, the minimum is set at of 35 hours per grade, 15 of which must be dedicated to drug/alcohol education. In grades seven and eight, the minimum is set at 60 hours per grade, 15 of which must be dedicated to drug/alcohol education. In order to graduate, high school students must receive one-half of a credit in comprehensive health education.

Delaware does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians may remove their children from such classes.

See Delaware Administrative Code 14-851, and Delaware Health Education Curriculum.

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Recent Legislation

Bill to Prohibit Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation

Senate Bill 141, introduced in June 2007, would have rendered discrimination against an individual on the basis of his/her sexual orientation as unlawful in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations, and insurances. The bill provided the Superior Court with exclusive criminal jurisdiction over any and all violations of equal accommodations, fair housing, and employment discrimination. The bill was sent to the Committee on Insurance and Elections in June 2007, but failed to move out of the committee.

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Events of Note 

SIECUS is not aware of any recent events regarding sexuality education in Delaware.

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Delaware’s Youth: Statistical Information of Note2  

  1. In 2007, 57% of female high school students and 62% of male high school students in Delaware reported ever having had sexual intercourse compared to 46% of female high school students and 50% of male high school students nationwide.
  2. In 2007, 5% of female high school students and 15% of male high school students in Delaware reported having had sexual intercourse before age 13 compared to 4% of female high school students and 10% of male high school students nationwide.
  3. In 2007, 17% of female high school students and 27% of male high school students in Delaware reported having had four or more lifetime sexual partners compared to 12% of female high school students and 18% of male high school students nationwide.
  4. In 2007, 47% of female high school students and 44% of male high school students in Delaware reported being currently sexually active (defined as having had sexual intercourse in the three months prior to the survey) compared to 36% of female high school students and 34% of male high school students nationwide.
  5. In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 63% of females and 76% of males in Delaware reported having used condoms the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 55% of females and 69% of males nationwide.
  6. In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 19% of females and 11% of males in Delaware reported having used birth control pills the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 19% of females and 13% of males nationwide.
  7. In 2007, among those high school students who reported being currently sexually active, 16% of females and 26% of males in Delaware reported having used alcohol or drugs the last time they had sexual intercourse compared to 18% of females and 28% of males nationwide.
  8. In 2007, 90% of high school students in Delaware reported having been taught about AIDS/HIV in school compared to 90% of high school students nationwide.

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Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services received $93,978 in federal Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding in Fiscal Year 2007. The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage grant requires states to provide three state-raised dollars or the equivalent in services for every four federal dollars received. The state match may be provided in part or in full by local groups. The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services oversees the program and provides the match through in-kind services.    

There are four sub-grantees in Delaware: the Boys and Girls Club of Liberty Court (Dover), the Boys and Girls Club of Milford, A Door of Hope, and Nike Canaan Full Gospel.

A Door of Hope is a crisis pregnancy center (CPC). Crisis pregnancy centers typically advertise as providing medical services and then use anti-abortion propaganda, misinformation, and fear and shame tactics to dissuade women facing unintended pregnancy from exercising their right to choose.

A Door of Hope uses its Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funds to deliver presentations at middle and high schools in Delaware. The presentation, titled “Treasure Your Gift,” is described by the organization as “a message of purity.”3 The agency relies on fear and shame in its abstinence message. For example, on its website the CPC warns:

Premarital sex provides NO ASSURANCE of security, love, or commitment from the other person. Many times it might be the three of these that teenagers are looking for. A secure marriage can provide these things. It can also assure you that this is the right person for more than just one night. Premarital sex can also bring future guilt and regret. Think about how hard it would be to tell your husband that you had not saved your virginity until marriage when he had saved his virginity. Abstinence is not saying to give up sex forever, but to wait until marriage. Think about how much more enjoyable things are when you wait for them. You might think that you are O.K. if you are not having sexual intercourse. Remember that STDs do not only transfer through sexual intercourse.4

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware uses the commercially available abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum, A.C. Green’s Game Plan.5SIECUS reviewed Game Plan and found that in order to convince high school students to remain abstinent until marriage, the curriculumrelies on messages of fear and shame, inaccurate and misleading information, and biased views of marriage, sexual orientation, and family structure. In addition, Game Plan fails to provide important information on sexual health including how students can seek testing and treatment if they suspect they may have an STD. Finally, the format and underlying biases of the curriculum do not allow for cultural, community, and individual values, and discourage critical thinking and discussions of alternate points of view in the classroom. For example, Game Plan states that, “Even if you’ve been sexually active, it’s never too late to say no. You can’t go back, but you can go forward. You might feel guilty or untrustworthy, but you can start over again.”6 

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Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) and Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) Grantees 

There are no CBAE or AFLA grantees in Delaware.

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Federal and State Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in FY 2007

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Grantee Length of Grant Amount of Grant Type of Grant (includes Title V, CBAE, AFLA, and other funds)

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services

www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/

$93,978 federal

Title V

Boys and Girls Club of Liberty Court (Dover)

$49,995

Title V sub-grantee

Boys and Girls Club of Milford
www.bgclubs.org/bg_clubs.html

$45,620

Title V sub-grantee

A Door of Hope
www.adoorofhope.org

$45,050

Title V sub-grantee

Nike Canaan Full Gospel

$10,000

Title V sub-grantee

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Adolescent Health Contact7
Fred MacCormack
Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
Division of Public Health
Jesse Cooper Building
P.O. Box 637
Dover, DE 19903
Phone: (302) 744-5409

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Delaware Organizations that Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education

ACLU of Delaware
100 West 10th St., Suite 309
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: (302) 654-3966
www.aclu-de.org

Delaware Women’s Conference
P.O. Box 7855
Newark, DE 19714
Phone: (302) 761-8005
www.delawarewomen.org

Delaware Women’s Health Organization
312 Mitch Rd.
Wilmington, DE 19804
Phone: (302) 992-7996
www.gynpages.com/dwho/

Planned Parenthood of Delaware
625 Shipley St.
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: (302) 655-7293
www.ppdel.org

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Delaware Organizations that Oppose Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Delaware Pro-Life Coalition
400 New London Rd.
Newark, DE 19711
Phone: (302) 368-0329
www.delawareprolife.org

Delaware Right To Life
P.O. Box 1222
Wilmington, DE 19899
Phone: (302) 832-9600
www.derighttolife.org

Intercollegiate Studies Institute
3901 Centerville Rd.
P.O. Box 4431
Wilmington, DE 19807
Phone: (302) 652-4600
www.isi.org

 

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Newspapers in Delaware

DoverPost
Newsroom
P.O. Box 664
Dover, DE 19903
Phone: (302) 678-8291
www.doverpost.com

The News Journal
Newsroom
P.O. Box 15505
Wilmington, DE 19850
Phone: (302) 324-2851
www.delawareonline.com

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References

  1. This refers to the fiscal year for the Federal Government which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, Fiscal Year 2007 begins on October 1, 2006 and ends on September 30, 2007.  
  2. Unless otherwise cited, all statistical information comes from: Danice K. Eaton, et. al., “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2007,” Surveillance Summaries, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 57.SS-4 (6 June 2008), accessed 4 June 2008, http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm>.
  3. “Speakers and Sessions,” Ignite, (2008), accessed 11 March 2008, <http://www.ignitede.com/eventdetails.htm.
  4. “Abstinence,” A Door of Hope, (11 March 2008), accessed 11 March 2008, <http://www.adoorofhope.org/abstinence.html>.
  5. Personal communication between Fred MacCormack and Catherine Morrison, 13 February 2008. 
  6. Scott Phelps and Libby Gray, A.C. Green’s Game Plan (Golf, IL: Project Reality, 2001). For more information, see SIECUS’ review of A.C. Green’s Game Plan at <http://www.communityactionkit.org/curricula_reviews.html>.
  7. SIECUS has identified this person as a state-based contact for information on adolescent health and if applicable, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. 
  8. This section is a list of major newspapers in your state with contact information for their newsrooms. This list is by no means inclusive and does not contain the local level newspapers which are integral to getting your message out to your community. SIECUS strongly urges you to follow stories about the issues that concern you on the national, state, and local level by using an internet news alert service such as Google alerts, becoming an avid reader of your local papers, and establishing relationships with reporters who cover your issues. For more information on how to achieve your media goals visit the SIECUS Community Action Kit.

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