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Developed in 1984 by Dr. Michael A. Carrera and The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), the CAS-Carrera program is a “top-tier” evidenced-based, primary adolescent pregnancy prevention program. It is only one of two models backed by well-conducted randomized controlled trials showing a sustained impact on reducing teen pregnancy rates. This intensive prevention program provides a full array of services, from tutors to mental health counselors and healthcare. The goal is to help young people avoid becoming parents during the second decade of their lives. The program is guided by a philosophy that sees youth as “at promise” and not “at risk”; its holistic, “above the waist” approach seeks to develop a participant’s capacity and desire to not only avoid early pregnancy, but to break the cycle of poverty and despair.
In 2011, a unique partnership was forged between the Children’s Aid Society (CAS)-Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, Union Public Schools (UPS), the Community Service Council (CSC), and the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) to implement the Tulsa Carrera Program at Union Public Schools. This integrated school model provides an extraordinary opportunity to provide intensive, year-round academic, emotional, and social support for participating students.
The Tulsa Carrera Program began with an incoming class cohort of 200 6th grade students and is currently serving approximately 1,200 students in grades 7-11, in the 2017-2018 academic school year.
- Education: Daily homework help, remediation, and enrichment with trained teachers and tutors driven by Individual Academic Plans (IAP) for each participant;
- Job Club: Weekly exposure to the “world of work,” including earning stipends, opening bank accounts, exploring career choices, and participating in entrepreneurial projects;
- Family Life and Sexuality Education (FLSE): Weekly comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education sessions taught in an age-appropriate fashion by a trained professional;
- Self-Expression: Weekly music, dance, writing and drama workshops led by theater and art professionals, where young people can discover talents and build self-esteem;
- Lifetime Individual Sports: A program emphasizing sports that build young people’s self-discipline and can be played throughout life;
- Vision, Dental and Medical Support: Comprehensive vision and dental screenings and medical services support provided in partnership with local providers;
- Mental Health Services: Weekly discussion groups led by licensed professionals; individual counseling, case management, and crisis intervention as needed.