The Role of Federally Qualified Health Centers in Delivering Family Planning Services to Adolescents

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Physical Education School and Public Health

Publication Date




The purpose of this article was to examine the role of community health centers (CHCs) in providing comprehensive family planning services to adolescents, looking at the range of services offered and factors associated with provision of these services.


This study employed a mixed methods approach comprising a national survey of CHCs and six in-depth case studies of health centers to examine the organization and delivery of family planning services. We developed an adolescent family planning index comprising nine family planning services specifically tailored to adolescents. We analyzed the influence of state-level family planning policies, funding for adolescents, and organizational characteristics on the provision of these services in CHCs. The case studies identified barriers to the provision of family planning to adolescent patients.


The survey found substantial variation in the provision of family planning services at CHCs, with a mean of 6.33 out of a maximum score of 13 on the family planning adolescent services index. Title X funding and location within a favorable state policy environment were significantly associated with higher scores on the family planning adolescent services index (p value < .001 and .002, respectively). Case studies revealed barriers to adolescent family planning, including lack of funding, lack of knowledge, and limitations on school-based clinical services.


CHCs have the opportunity to play a significant role in providing high-quality family planning to low-income, medically underserved adolescents. Additional funding, resources, and a favorable policy climate would further improve CHCs' ability to serve the family planning needs of this special patient population.


This article was originally published in Journal of Adolescent Health. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Adolescent Health


Copyright © 2015 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.