BACKGROUND: The Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program, through a network of 106 pregnancy support centers across the state, provides resources and services to pregnant mothers as they prepare to parent or place their babies for adoption. These centers are local, non-profit organizations that offer support and assistance to women faced with difficult pregnancy decisions. In addition to free pregnancy tests, centers offer counseling, referrals, material support, training, and pregnancy and childbirth education. Clients are eligible to receive services for up to one year after the child’s birth.
The program was created in 2005 and the Florida Department of Health has received an annual appropriation since its inception, which has risen to $4 million in the current year. Proviso language expanded the program to include women’s wellness services.
HB 41 (Toledo) / SB 444 (Bean) codifies the Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program in Florida statutes. Establishing the program in statute better positions it in the annual budget process and requires the Florida Pregnancy Care Network through a contract with the Department of Health to provide oversight of background screenings, annual compliance monitoring, and informational materials. HB 41 has already passed the full House of Representatives; SB 444 is on the calendar for the full Senate this week.