Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD)
The Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD) Unit is located in the Division of Public Health, Health Promotions and Disease Prevention Programs. The AHYD Unit was established as a result of the teenage pregnancy prevention initiative funded by the Georgia General Assembly beginning in FY1998. Together with Workfirst, the aim of the teenage pregnancy prevention initiative is to prevent welfare dependency and improve economic opportunity and responsible parenting. Funding, for the program, is administered through a contract between Georgia Departments of Community Health (DPH) and Family and Children Services (DFCS). Funds are provided to support the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of successful programs that address the broad range of social and economic factors that affect teen behavior, including substance abuse, violence, tobacco use, obesity, and teen sexual activity before marriage.
AHYD funds health education and promotion programs in communities throughout Georgia including 30 Teen Center Programs in 28 counties and a District Youth Development Coordinator (YDC) in all 18 public health districts in Georgia. Funded AHYD program strategies and activities include programs for youth such as abstinence education, drug and alcohol prevention education, adolescent reproductive health services; parent educational seminars; and training programs designed to increase community awareness about teen pregnancy. District and county health departments actively partner with other local youth organizations/providers to co-sponsor events and to assure that youth have access to needed services and opportunities within their communities (e.g., legal services; tutoring and academic support; entrepreneurship; mental health counseling; youth development, physical activity, socialization, mentoring and related services).
AHYD-funded programs and services build on the strengths or “assets” of individual youth, their families, and individual communities; promote optimism about the futures of the youth it serves, and provide youth with important skills so that they can resist peer pressure and make healthy choices. The goal of Georgia’s Adolescent Health Unit is to help adolescents grow up healthy, educated, connected to their families and communities, and employable.