Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Science and Human Ecology

First Reader/Committee Chair

Becerra, Monideepa


Background: The California Healthy Youth Act is the policy that mandates California public schools to implement comprehensive sex education in middle and high school. Since its enactment in 2016, sexually transmitted infections have reached its highest rates with young people accounting for half of all new cases. Likewise, teen dating violence and sexual violence (including sex trafficking) continue to burden adolescents, especially among minorities. Policy enhancements are recommended to bridge the gaps in implementation to ensure compliance and sustainability of the policy.

Methods: A policy analysis was conducted using Bardach’s 8-fold path and a SWOT analysis. Data was gathered through existing qualitative literature and news articles, and secondary data collected by government agencies.

Results: Results demonstrated that lack of funding was a major contribution for the absence of implementation in the classroom. To address the financial need and increase the proportion of schools that implement the education, additional accountability is recommended to improve the mandate block grant. This will increase the likelihood of implementation and provide sustainable outcomes.

Conclusion: It is a child’s basic right to learn about sexual health and the means of protection from adverse sexual health outcomes. The California Healthy Youth Act is a major step forward in ameliorating the disproportionately high rates of sexual health outcomes among adolescent minorities. Implementation is a challenge, but with federal funding and adequate accountability, this education can teach adolescents how to build healthy relationships and feel empowered to take charge of their sexual health throughout their lifetime.