Adolescent Health in Texas

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Welcome to Maternal & Child Health’s Adolescent Health website.

While adolescents are generally healthy, substance abuse and other risky behaviors can be common problems. These health issues can have long-term effects. Follow these links to learn more:


What’s New
Important Numbers
Positive Youth Development
For Health Care Providers
Related Sites
Texas Healthy Adolescent Initiative
Sexual Violence Prevention  

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Youth can be at risk of falling victim of human trafficking. Human trafficking is slavery. It forces men, women, and children into unfair labor or forced sex.


There are different types of trafficking but two affect adolescents:

  • 1)Trafficking of children and youth for forced labor.
  • 2)Trafficking of children and youth for sex.  


Warning signs that a young person may be being trafficked:

  • Missing school
  • Changing appearance
  • Changing friends
  • Hanging out with older teens or young adults
  • Tattoos that may be brands
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Lack of identification

You can help by learning more. Watch the Attorney General’s “Be The One” training video in the fight against human trafficking.  

How can you “Be The One”? Report it!

  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). The NHTH connects victims with services in the area. They provide training, technical help, and other resources.
  • Visit Texas HHSC’s website to learn more. 

The Maternal & Child Health - Adolescent Health area takes a “whole child” look at adolescent health and well-being. Instead of tackling risky behaviors alone, the Adolescent Health area focuses on:

  • the overlap between risky behaviors;
  • the common causes;
  • the strengths that a youth has;
  • the adults who support youth; and
  • successful activities.    

Youth work should center on skills youth need to cope with stress and reduce the urge to take risks. We refer to these skills as protective factors. Youth work should focus on strengths. The Positive Youth Development (PYD) model is key to health strategies for youth. PYD projects:

  • develop relationships with caring adults;
  • support caring interactions with parents;
  • promote positive connections to school; and
  • have opportunities for youth to experiment in healthy ways.  

Partners include:

  • State agencies
  • families
  • schools
  • churches
  • communities
  • youth agencies

Research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that adolescents understand risk. The risk of any given action fails to stop them because of the benefits they perceive.  

MCH believes that youth and family input is vital to program success in the community. Please send questions or comments to us!

For more information, please contact us at:  

Texas Department of State Health Services
Maternal & Child Health
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1922
Austin, TX 78714-9347
(512) 776-7373: Phone
(512) 458-7658: Fax


External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These external links may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. For more information about Maternal and Child Health or information regarding adolescent health in Texas, please email or call (512) 776-7373.


Last updated December 21, 2018