Pennsylvania’s first-in-the-nation Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program has served over 211,036 women the last 17 years. Started in 1996 to offer women counseling and mentoring support as an alternative to abortion, the statewide Program has provided over 1 million support service visits to women throughout Pennsylvania.
Real Alternatives is the statewide administrator for the Program. Kevin Bagatta, President & CEO of Real Alternatives said, “It has been so gratifying over these years that so many women who were alone and facing a crisis pregnancy had another person to assist them and empower them to overcome obstacles and pressures so they could choose life for their preborn baby.” Real Alternatives uses 93 pregnancy support centers, Catholic Charities, and maternity homes, and their over 500 caring and compassionate trained counselors to provide free pregnancy support and parenting education services to women the our state.
Real Alternatives has assisted 14 other states to start taxpayer-funded programs to reach out to women facing unexpected pregnancies. In 2006, Texas, requested assistance in replicating the Pennsylvania program. That program, administered by Texas Pregnancy Care Network, has also been a great success in providing pregnancy and parenting support services to 71,978 women at 373, 963 support service visits.
Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF)
Through the Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), The Office of Adolescent Health administers the Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF), a $25 million competitive grant program. PAF provides funding to States and Tribes to provide pregnant and parenting teens and women with a seamless network of supportive services to help them complete high school or postsecondary degrees and gain access to health care, child care, family housing, and other critical supports. The funds are also used to improve services for pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Original awards were made in 2010 to 17 entities for up to three years to develop and implement activities to support pregnant and parenting teens and women.
With PAF funds, grantees conduct the following types of activities:
- Support pregnant and parenting student services at institutions of higher education;
- Support pregnant and parenting teens at high schools and community service centers;
- Improve services for pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
- Increase public awareness and education efforts.