This guide was created to help pregnant young women and parenting teens find free sources of assistance locally. Our focus is primarily on finding health insurance when you can’t afford it yourself, but we’ll also cover some nutritional programs that can help you get healthy food for you and your baby.
Assistance For Pregnant Young Women By State
Before we get to state-funded programs, we have to mention one federal initiative: Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC is a “supplemental nutrition program”; in short, it helps pregnant women and recent parents access healthy, nutritional foods for themselves and their children. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here.
Healthy Beginnings is a program run by the Pennsylvania State government that offers health insurance, free of charge, to pregnant women who cannot afford it on their own. If you read our last blog, you know that receiving adequate prenatal care is the most important consideration for any pregnant woman. Low income or not, you can get health insurance. Learn more here.
Check out the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s website here to find more programs that you might be eligible for.
Adoptions From The Heart offers compassionate, free options counseling to pregnant women. We have three offices in Pennsylvania: Wynnewood, Lancaster, and Allentown. You can find the contact info for our main office here.
In New Jersey
Pregnant women in New Jersey can get health insurance through NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid. Here’s a sheet that helps you figure out if you qualify (based on your income). Numbers to call are at the bottom: NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid Maternal Health Coverage.
You can call our office in Cherry Hill for personalized help, too. Find our phone number on this page.
Delaware offers subsidized health insurance to pregnant women through its Medicaid program. You can find more information here.
Delaware also runs its own Women, Infants, and Children program. Find out if you qualify on the State of Delaware’s website.
You can apply for prenatal care benefits in Virginia through the Virginia Department of Social Services. Or, even easier, try using CommonHelp here. CommonHelp will take a bunch of your personal details, and then figure out which assistance programs you qualify for so you don’t even have to think about it.
Connecticut’s state government has a program called Healthy Start, which gives grants to hospitals and clinics throughout the state. Pregnant women in need apply for the program and then receive free or low-cost prenatal care at those hospitals or clinics. It’s a little harder to apply for Healthy Start than the other programs we’ve discussed so far. Basically, you have to go through an outreach worker, who will file your application for you. Find info specific to the Hartford area here.
Need more help? Call our office in Glastonbury and speak with a counselor for free today. Find the contact info on our Glastonbury, CT page.
In New York City
New York State’s Department of Health has its own Medicaid program that offers complete pregnancy care to women who need health insurance. To find out more, call the New York State Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1 (800) 522 – 5006.
More Help On The Way?
Thanks to Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the US Department of Health & Human Services has created the Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF), a grant program specifically designed to assist pregnant or parenting teenagers. Oddly enough, it’s not pregnant teens themselves who are applying for the grants, it’s states.
Instead of applying for help through a federal agency, you have to work through state organizations. Essentially, the PAF gives money to state government agencies, and then those agencies use the money to fund pregnant teens or service programs that help pregnant teens. Right now, the Fund is kind of limited. The original fund administered $25 million, and distributed it among the 15 states who needed it most. On the East Coast, you can find help through:
- The Connecticut State Department Of Education is using money to start their Connecticut Teen Parent Initiative. When complete, the program will assist pregnant young women in New Haven, Waterbury, New Britain, Hartford, Bridgeport, New London, and Windham by offering “case management, parenting and life skills education, child care, prenatal and reproductive health care, father involvement services, and flexible schooling.”
- New Jersey‘s Department of Children and Families will use their grant to strengthen several great programs, including Promoting Success for Expectant & Parenting Teens New Jersey (PSNJ). PSNJ works mainly in schools, providing child care for teens trying to parent and study at the same time.
- New York State’s Department of Health will create an initiative, Pathways to Success, to implement within three school systems: the Bronx, Rochester, and Buffalo. Pathways to Success will help link pregnant and parenting students with local resources and financial assistance.
For now, there’s nothing you can do to “take advantage” of these new programs. It’s more of a “they’ll come to you” thing, and the programs are still in early stages of development. Hopefully, they’ll be effective and reach the pregnant teens who need them most.