The Milford High School Wellness Center, which is operated by Bayhealth and funded by the Delaware Department of Public Health, is adding the Depo-Provera birth control shot to its reproductive health services, which will be offered to students who have parental consent to use the wellness center.
The Milford High School Wellness Center is adding a new birth control method to its list of services, which includes reproductive health education.
The Wellness Center, which is operated by Bayhealth and funded by the Delaware Department of Public Health, is adding the Depo-Provera birth control shot to its reproductive health services, which will be offered to students who have parental consent to use the wellness center.
At the beginning of the school year, wellness center services went to an all-or-nothing parental consent form, offering parents the option to agree to all of the services offered by the center or not. Previously, the consent form was offered on a service-by-service basis, where parents could check off which services they would allow their children to receive.
The Milford School District superintendent and Milford High School principal officially approved the addition of the new service Wednesday afternoon, according to DPH spokeswoman Emily Knearl. The Depo shot will be available to any student whose parent has signed the Wellness Center consent form. A vote from the Board of Education was not required.
“I think both the principal and myself are OK with adding the Depo shot to the list of services offered by the Wellness Center,” said Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel. “Since the inception of reproductive health services in fall 2012, they’ve had no negative feedback regarding any of the services provided by the Wellness Center.”
Current services provided by the Wellness Center include annual physicals, prescriptions, diagnosis and treatment of minor medical issues, counseling as well as reproductive health services.
The public health department funds 29 wellness centers throughout Delaware’s 32 public high schools, seven of which are operated by Bayhealth. The other centers are operated by different contractors, according to DPH spokeswoman Emily Knearl.
Each wellness center’s offerings are worked out between individual schools and contractors, and while many of the wellness centers work primarily with high school students, the center at Milford High School also services eighth- and ninth-grade students, said Wellness Center Coordinator Julie Layton.
Layton said birth control services have been offered since the beginning of the 2012 school year, and students are required to have a consent form as well as an educational-based appointment with wellness center professionals before they are given condoms or birth control pills, the two forms of birth control previously offered.
“There’s a huge education piece,” Layton said. “It’s amazing how many teenagers don’t know about reproductive health. It’s not just sex, it’s about knowing your body and knowing when something is going on.”
Students will go through the same steps to receive the injectable birth control, which is administered every 13 weeks.
“It’s simply a changing of the form that parents have to sign and students have to sign to be members of the wellness center and it’s simply an additional service,” Kohel said. “We simply support the decision to add the Depo shot as an additional service provided by the wellness center.”
Although DPH has received confirmation of the intent to add the new birth control method, the service won’t be implemented at the high school until the 2014-2015 school year, Layton said, because there is need for additional staff training as well as time needed to order the medicine to accumulate stock.