Toolkit for Improving Family Planning Services in School Settings

Strategies for Prioritizing Adolescent-Friendly Sexual Health Care

Andrea Vazzano, Zabryna Balén, Jennifer Manlove, Jenita Parekh, Katherine Cushing, Andrea Shore, & Donnie Greco

Young people deserve high-quality sexual health care that respects their unique experiences, strengths, and social and developmental contexts. When providers and programs ensure that health services are easily available, developmentally appropriate, and responsive to adolescents’ needs, youth will be more likely to access and use these services. Prioritizing adolescent-friendly care can therefore lead to more positive health outcomes for youth. It is one of the four foundational approaches to school-based sexual health services highlighted in this toolkit.

This section of the toolkit presents six strategies for ensuring adolescent-friendly sexual health services. These strategies are based on interviews with family planning service providers in school-based health centers (SBHCs) or other school settings. They also align with national and global guidance on providing tailored health services for youth. For example, the World Health Organization maintains that youth-friendly services should be accessible, acceptable, equitable, appropriate, and effective for young people. You will see many of these characteristics in the examples included under each of the six strategies.

Using This Tool



Adapting outreach strategies to your context

Needs Assessment Questions on Current Adolescent-Friendly Strategies at Your Site

Strategies for Ensuring Adolescent-Friendly Sexual Health Services

Facilitate access to sexual health services

Create a warm and welcoming environment

Provide services and referrals to address the whole person

Ensure privacy and confidentiality in care

Foster safety and comfort among adolescents around sexual health

Engage and uplift youth voices

Next Steps

Now think about concrete actions you can take to better ensure that you and your clinic prioritize adolescent-friendly care. The following statements can serve as prompts to help you identify potential next steps.

Reflections on Goal Setting

1. Identify at least one new adolescent-friendly strategy to implement in your school-based health setting or organization over the next three months.

Think about the six strategies described in this section of the toolkit. What strategies or examples sparked your interest? Think about how implementing this/these strategy(ies) might look in your setting. Determine and set a concrete goal and timeline.

2. Identify at least one existing adolescent-friendly strategy in your school-based health setting or organization to improve over the next three months.

Think about something you or your clinic already does to ensure that sexual health services are adolescent friendly. Consider one small change or improvement that could make this strategy more effective. Test the idea. Then consider an additional small change.

You can view the Next Steps questions as a PDF form here.

Suggested Citation

Vazzano, A., Balén, Z., Manlove, J., Parekh, J., Cushing, K., Shore, A., & Greco, D. (2022). Prioritizing Adolescent-Friendly Care. Child Trends.

This publication is supported by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $2,036,999 with 100 percent funded by OPA/OASH/HHS. The contents reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, OPA/OASH/HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit