If you have a heart for providing on-going support, you are among many who are providing clients with more than a single contact followed by perhaps a few sessions of crisis intervention. In order to ensure a healthy pregnancy, a healthy lifestyle and/or healing from an abortion, many centers have developed long term, one-on-one mentoring and support programs.
Every program you provide should lead to the fulfillment of the vision and accomplish the mission you have written for your organization. Before you add to your core programs, make sure that the existing programs and services you offer are doing well, and have a strong foundation.
It’s wise to survey your community to see what programs are already available to clients and develop a detailed community referral manual and system to connect clients to the appropriate local agencies and support groups from emergency housing to child care. If a service is not available in the community, some centers add them, such as host home programs, single moms’ support groups, pre and post-adoption support groups, groups for parents of pregnant teens, even licensed maternity homes and licensed adoption agencies.
Today, long-term care programs affiliated with Heartbeat or within Heartbeat-affiliated centers fall into the following categories.
Licensed maternity homes and residential programs
Maternity homes come in many different models – those serving minors, women, mothers and their babies, those focused primarily or exclusively on the parenting choice of adoption, those serving “hard cases” (e.g. women with drug and alcohol problems). How the home is structured and its specific policies will be determined by the mission and the needs of the particular community.
Licensed adoption agencies
Some adoption agencies are loosely connected to one or more pregnancy centers, perhaps by having some pregnancy center Board Members serving on the adoption agency Board. The close connection leads to a more “seamless” approach to providing adoption services to a client who chooses parents for her child through an adoption plan. Thus, the transfer of the client from one helping organization to another is as seamless as possible. Research shows that this is one of the factors that leads to a greater number of adoptions. More and more pregnancy centers are founding licensed adoption agencies because they cannot find good Christian adoption providers in their communities and because they have a large number of clients who will have great difficulty parenting their child. They need a viable adoption alternative. When centers found their own adoption agencies, they see major increases in the number of clients choosing an adoption plan.
Some pregnancy centers have added ultrasound (and perhaps STD testing) to their crisis-intervention services; some have expanded medical services to include prenatal care, some for only 3 months, others for the full 9 months but limited to low-risk pregnancies (for insurance purposes).
Some use workbooks, like My Baby and Me, to guide the pregnant client in making some new decisions in her life. The Sexual Integrity™ Program does the same with a variety of topic modules for both pregnant and non-pregnant clients.
These can be all on one topic such as childbirth or parenting or they can cover a mixture of topics. Classes are also available for pregnant and non-pregnant clients through The Sexual Integrity™ Program. Programs for men and fathers: Several Heartbeat affiliates have expanded their services to reach men for abortion education, decision-making consultation, parenting skills, and marriage consultation and support. Programs for men are led by male volunteers and mentors and sometimes a male paid staff leader.
Some PRC’s have specialized support groups/workshops such as the H.E.A.R.T. (Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma) program for men and women who need healing after an abortion. Other groups may be for single mothers, grandparents, fathers, or those considering adoption. The Sexual Integrity™ Program offers these group formats for clients who have experienced sexual abuse or trauma.
Some PRC’s offer limited job training such as word processing training in their offices.