Reducing Teen Childbearing among Latinos: An Innovative Anti-Poverty Strategy

Child Trends developed El Camino, a teen pregnancy prevention program for Latino adolescents that focuses on the attainment of their personal goals. The program is administered to young people in their schools and communities, especially those with large Latino populations.

What is El Camino?

El Camino aims to reduce teen childbearing, increase educational achievement, and (ultimately) to reduce poverty among Latino youth. The curriculum contains eleven 45-minute lessons, and is divided into three sections, or arcs. Throughout, El Camino strives to engage parents to obtain their support for further education and delayed family formation.

Arc 1, Goal Setting, uses the imagery of a road (El Camino) to connect adolescents’ long-term goals with specific steps they can take to achieve those goals. Students themselves—without input from adults in their lives—come to recognize, through their participation, the need to complete their education and delay pregnancy.

Arc 2, Sexual and Reproductive Health, works to change young people’s knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and behaviors regarding reproductive biology; and teach them effective methods of contraception—all necessary for youth to protect and reach their goals.

This Arc 2 contraceptive handout illustrates how long each contraceptive method is effective, and how various methods align with young people’s goals.

Arc 3, Healthy Relationships, aims to help youth develop assertive communication skills so that they can protect their progress toward their goals, accurately and effectively communicate their limits with partners, and enjoy healthy relationships.

The Arc 3 handout, shown below, fosters a discussion about whether partners are consenting to sex in different scenarios.

Development and testing

From 2015 to 2018, Child Trends developed and tested El Camino in 16 classrooms across seven locations (Washington, DC; East Chicago, IN; Tacoma, WA; Baltimore, MD; Los Angeles, CA; and Philadelphia, PA), with more than 300 students. We worked with partner schools and organizations to implement El Camino with diverse groups of students in both English and Spanish; during and after school; and with classroom teachers, AmeriCorps volunteers, and Communities in Schools staff.

The final El Camino curriculum was developed in consultation with content experts after five rounds of revision, and draws on observations, student focus groups and surveys, and facilitator feedback.

Watch a webinar on El Camino

The webinar describes El Camino’s background, focus, structure, and findings; and engages the audience in interactive virtual demonstrations of some program activities. Guadalupe Martinez, a Communities in Schools site coordinator who recently facilitated El Camino with a group of students in Los Angeles, joined the presenters and described her experience implementing the program.

Related documents

Overview – Reducing Teen Childbearing among Latinos: An Innovative Anti-Poverty Strategy

Poster – Reducing Teen Childbearing Among Latinos: An Innovative Anti-Poverty Curriculum

Blog – El Camino, a goal-setting teen pregnancy prevention program, finds promising results

Partners and collaborators 

This project is funded by The JPB Foundation.

Project Staff: Kristin Anderson Moore, Jennifer Manlove, Jenita Parekh, Bianca Faccio, Samuel Beckwith, Lina Guzman