The Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program, through a network of 106 pregnancy support centers throughout the state, provides pregnancy support services to women and their families. These centers are local, non-profit organizations that provide valuable assistance to women and men faced with difficult pregnancy decisions. In addition to free pregnancy tests, centers offer services such as counseling, referrals, material support, training, and pregnancy and childbirth education to pregnant mothers as they prepare to parent or place their babies for adoption.
The program was created in 2005 and the Florida Department of Health has received an annual appropriation of $2 million for operational expenses since its inception. In the 2016-17 budget year, the appropriation was increased to $4 million and proviso language expanded the program to include women’s wellness services.
HB 41 (Toledo) / SB 444 (Bean) codify the Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program in Florida statutes and defines program requirements including background screenings for staff and volunteers, current and accurate informational materials, and contract management through the Florida Department of Health. In a January 9 letter, Michael Sheedy, FCCB executive director, urged legislative support for this proposal. HB 41 passed the full House of Representatives last week; SB 444 must make its way through the Senate before the measure can be sent to Governor Scott.
SB 444 is being heard by its final committee of reference on Thursday, January 18 at 4:00 pm. Click here to customize and send your message.