Evaluation Summary

Evaluation Summary 2008-2010

Evaluation Summary 2006-2008

In July 2006, the Minnesota Department of Health awarded Positive Alternatives grants to 37 organizations to fund alternatives-to-abortion programs. This was the first grant cycle following the passage of the Positive Alternatives Act legislation. The purpose of this statewide grant program is to support, encourage, and assist women in carrying their pregnancies to term and caring for their babies following birth. The grantees were selected through a competitive grant application process.

Evaluation Process

    • All grantees were required to submit detailed work plans against which progress was monitored.
    • Grantee´s progress was monitored through annual site visits and quarterly reports.
    • Quarterly reports tracked all major activities supported by the Positive Alternative grant funds, including participation, program accomplishments and challenges.


    • Programs and services were delivered in 25 counties, serving pregnant women in every region of the state. The following is the percent of participants by region:

        • Metro 66 percent
        • North 8 percent
        • South 9 percent
        • Central 8 percent
        • Statewide 9 percent

    • 3 grantees targeted the needs of women in specific racial and ethnic groups.
    • 5 grantees had special programs and activities for teen mothers.
    • The programs served 12,458 pregnant women and new mothers.
    • Each participant was given information on, referral to or assistance with securing the required "necessary services," as defined in the Positive Alternatives Act. These services include medical care, nutritional services, housing and child care assistance, adoption services, parenting education and support, and education and employment assistance.
    • Most grantees provided additional programs or services targeted to meet the unique needs of their communities. Included among these were:

        • Prenatal medical care, ultrasound and STD testing
        • Childbirth and prenatal education
        • Nutrition education
        • Residential homes for pregnant and parenting women and housing assistance programs
        • Adoption education and services
        • Classroom education to pregnant teens, GED assistance, and resources for exploring post-secondary options
        • Job skills training programs
        • Child care vouchers and on-site child care services
        • Parenting education programs with incentives (e.g. cribs, car seats, and/or other maternity and infant supplies)
        • Smoking cessation programs.

Evaluation Pilot Test

A single grantee was selected to test a survey based on the Minnesota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System Survey (PRAMS) as an evaluation method of the Positive Alternatives grant program. PRAMS is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative to reduce infant mortality and low birth weight. It is a survey of mothers who have recently had a baby. PRAMS includes questions about attitudes and feelings related to pregnancy, prenatal care, and experiences before, during and after pregnancy. Minnesota PRAMS gathers state-specific information that is used to address public health issues and to develop effective programs and policies that will improve the health of mothers and babies in Minnesota.

In the last quarter of 2007, 30 mothers participating in prenatal care and/or parenting education programs provided by one Positive Alternatives grantee were asked to complete the survey. When compared to the results of all 2006 PRAMS respondents in Minnesota, the survey indicated that the Positive Alternatives pilot survey respondents had more risk factors than Minnesota women in general. However, the small sample size of the pilot does not allow for precise estimates. The singe study location limits how representative this information may be of the entire population of women served by Positive Alternatives programs. While the PRAMS survey could describe the experience of women in the program, upon further analysis, it was determined that using this survey methodology to evaluate program results was not valid because the survey could not distinguish the effects of the Positive Alternatives program from other sources of prenatal and postnatal care.