In 2002, the Keystone State was the first state in the nation to use $1 million a year of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to empower impoverished pregnant women through free services at social service agencies like Catholic Charities, maternity homes, and pregnancy support centers.
Former US Congressman Joe Pitts sought the funding from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) for the Pennsylvania program, which has become a model for the rest of the nation. Dr. Wade Horn, then an Assistant Secretary at US HHS, verified that the Pennsylvania program met the four purposes for TANF.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker placed TANF funds in the Commonwealth’s budget, giving rise to the successful federal-state partnership.
In 19 years, 50,000 of the 332,000 Pennsylvania women served in the program have been served with TANF funds.
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The Pregnancy and Parenting Support program is administered by Real Alternatives, which uses private donations to assist states throughout the country to follow Pennsylvania’s lead.
To date, 12 other states use TANF funds to provide life-affirming support to women in unexpected pregnancies.
In 2020, Assistant Secretary of US HHS, Lynn Johnson, commended Pennsylvania and Real Alternatives for the vision of using TANF funds to help impoverished women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy. See her video congratulation at: