Issues in Balancing Teenage Clients' Confidentiality and Reporting Statutory Rape Among Kansas Title X Clinic Staff

Authors

  • Corinne Miller Ph.D.,

    1. Corinne Miller is an Assistant State Epidemiologist, Epidemiologic Services, Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Henry L. Miller is an Epidemiologist, Office of Injury and Disability Prevention, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Linda Kenney is the Director, Children and Families Section, Bureau for Children, Youth and Families, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Jennie Tasheff is the Healthy Kansans 2000 Coordinator, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas.
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  • Henry L. Miller J.D., M.P.H.,

    1. Corinne Miller is an Assistant State Epidemiologist, Epidemiologic Services, Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Henry L. Miller is an Epidemiologist, Office of Injury and Disability Prevention, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Linda Kenney is the Director, Children and Families Section, Bureau for Children, Youth and Families, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Jennie Tasheff is the Healthy Kansans 2000 Coordinator, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas.
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  • Linda Kenney M.P.H.,

    1. Corinne Miller is an Assistant State Epidemiologist, Epidemiologic Services, Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Henry L. Miller is an Epidemiologist, Office of Injury and Disability Prevention, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Linda Kenney is the Director, Children and Families Section, Bureau for Children, Youth and Families, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Jennie Tasheff is the Healthy Kansans 2000 Coordinator, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas.
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  • Jennie Tasheff M.P.H.

    1. Corinne Miller is an Assistant State Epidemiologist, Epidemiologic Services, Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Henry L. Miller is an Epidemiologist, Office of Injury and Disability Prevention, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Linda Kenney is the Director, Children and Families Section, Bureau for Children, Youth and Families, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas. Jennie Tasheff is the Healthy Kansans 2000 Coordinator, Bureau of Health Promotion, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, Kansas.
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Address correspondence to Corinne Miller, Epidemiologic Services, Bureau of Epidemiology & Disease Prevention, KDHE, 900 SW Jackson, Room 1051 S, Topeka, KS 66612–1290.

Abstract

Through Federal Welfare Reform, Congress directed states to aggressively enforce statutory rape laws. Family planning professionals deal with many adolescent clients, and their support for such enforcement or willingness to report is unclear. The authors of this study examined current attitudes and practices of family planning program managers (FPPMs) about statutory rape law enforcement, including current reporting practices. In 1997, all 77 local Kansas Title X FPPMs were surveyed. Structured telephone interviews were conducted with 10 FPPMs to add detail to quantitative responses. Sixty-eight FPPMs responded to the written survey (88%). Of these, 79% supported aggressive enforcement, and 43% thought enforcement would reduce adolescent pregnancy rates. With increased enforcement, 38% believed teenagers would be discouraged from seeking reproductive health care, compared to 41% who believed they would not. Among key informants, all of whom were FPPMs, willingness to report cases was mixed, with those who would report wanting the flexibility to judge on a case-by-case basis. For those not reporting cases, confidentiality concerns overrode beliefs in any positive outcome of enforcement. Kansas Title X FPPMs strongly supported aggressive enforcement, but had mixed beliefs about negative consequences. Among those interviewed, there were also mixed beliefs and practices about reporting. Reporting from FPPMs will be sporadic and arbitrary unless protocols are developed and laws are clarified.

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