The primary purpose of the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program is to provide core services consisting of information, education and counseling that promotes childbirth instead of abortion and assists pregnant women in their decision regarding adoption or parenting.
The Program also provides support services including self-administered pregnancy kits, baby food, maternity and baby clothing and baby furniture, information and education, and referrals for other services for the needs of the women and newborn. The information and education provided under support services includes topics regarding infant care, adoption, parenting, or the use of abstinence to avoid unplanned and out-of-wedlock pregnancies.
The enabling legislation for the Program authorizes the Service Providers to be reimbursed for the free services they provide to women until childbirth and for up to 12 months post-partum. Services include, but are not strictly limited to:
- Pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, and abstinence classes
- Adoption information; assistance for post delivery stress
- Assistance with food; shelter; clothing; health care
- Other supportive programs and services for related outreach programs.
Service Providers participating in this Program will ensure that women who are pregnant, think they are, or have a child under 12 months of age have access to the above mentioned services.
Real Alternatives, through the Service Providers, offers a comprehensive umbrella of core and support services that provide women direct support during and after the Unexpected Pregnancy. This umbrella of services also includes programs to encourage new lifestyle choices that will prevent crisis pregnancies in the future.
For those in a Unexpected Pregnancy, core services are delivered by providing direct counseling support during the parenting and adoption decision. Services include:
- Counseling and case management in a non-judgmental atmosphere
- Education on fetal development and the health and nutritional needs of pregnant women, through the use of books, videos, brochures, and fetal models
- Pre- and post-natal education; pregnancy and certified childbirth classes
- Access to information on medical care, hospital clinics, doctors, health care facilities, and other professional services; assistance with identifying drug and alcohol programs, if needed
- Adoption service information
- Life-skills training for parenting and nutritional needs
- Availability of other community social services
- Tangible aid in the form of maternity clothes
- Referrals to maternity homes
- Other programs for the physical and emotional needs of the women experiencing the stress of a Unexpected Pregnancy.
For women who have given birth, support services are delivered by providing direct parenting or adoption support because of their decision not to abort. Such services take the form of:
- Parenting counseling and classes
- Education referrals for upgrading skills or obtaining a GED
- Child care referrals
- Information on Women Infants and Children (WIC) programs
- Job service and vocational training opportunities availability
- Tangible aid in the form of baby and infant items and other needed supplies.
For those who come to our Service Providers thinking they are experiencing a Unexpected Pregnancy, self-administered pregnancy test kits are available. For those in this category who are not pregnant, support services are delivered by providing:
- Information on the risks of sexually transmitted diseases
- Relationship counseling
- Decision-making education
- Teen pregnancy prevention programs with the goal of modifying risk-taking behavior that lowers out-of-wedlock births and sexually transmitted diseases.
This umbrella of services provided by the Service Providers enables Real Alternatives to provide direct core and support services statewide so women do not feel the need to have an abortion now or in the future, and to provide support programs that effectively prevent the circumstances that might lead to an unplanned pregnancy and abortion in the first place.
With the ability to provide a wide array of services to women in need at the local level, a woman is able to make more informed choices concerning her child, as well as begin to plan for a future that will include independence and self-sufficiency. The linkage of these services over a longer period of time provides a better opportunity for counselors to help women who wish to change their status from a dependent mother to an independent mother.