by California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
You are not alone!
There are California state programs that provide assistance for young mothers and fathers who need it – regardless of immigration status. There is help available, you just need to know where to go and how to apply. In addition to these programs, please know that California law protects your rights as pregnant and parenting youth to stay in school and therefore you cannot be forced to go to another school – not matter what your teachers or principle tell you. Below is a list of programs where pregnant teens can go for help:
Cal-WORKS– sometimes called “welfare,” this program provides cash grants and services to California families who apply and qualify. You can get cash payments every month and help pay for your childcare needs. Other programs or benefits for which a CalWORKs family may qualify include:
CalFresh program (food stamps/SNAP)
You may also get services to help you in school such as transportation, money for school expenses, counseling or therapy if you need it and even bonuses if you do well in school. To apply, go to your local Cal-WORKs office. To find it, clear here to go to the CWDA website (County Welfare Directors Association of CA), look in the blue section of the phone book or visit your county’s website.
Cal-SAFE– this is a school based, statewide program for middle and high school students under 18 who are pregnant or have a child. Cal-SAFE helps you stay in school and helps you take care of your child in a supportive environment. To find out if there is a Cal-SAFE program near you call, 1-916-319-0541 or ask at your school.
Medi-Cal Minor Consent Program (MCP)– this program helps you receive certain medical services without your parent’s permission or knowledge. MCP is free or at a very low cost, and if you qualify, you can get birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy services (including abortion services), and counseling.
Women, Infants & Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC)– this program helps pregnant women and mothers by giving special checks once a month to buy food for their children who are 5 years old or younger.. WIC also provides newborns with formula and baby food, as well as, parenting classes and healthy eating classes, all for free. WIC also encourages breast-feeding and helps mothers who are having difficulty. If you are on Cal-Works, Medi-Cal or food stamps, you automatically qualify for WIC. To find the nearest WIC office, call 1-888-WIC-WORKs (1-888-942-9675).
While this article is focused on resources in the state of California, there are programs to help you all across the country. Click here to visit the page on the US Department of Health and Human Resources’ site that lists benefits for families provided by the government in all states.
Visit the East Los High “Resources” page for many more programs and resources you may never knew existed for Californians, including the following:
www.benefitscal.org — This website connects you to applications for Medi-Cal, CalWORKS, CalFresh and more so you can apply online.
www.pregnantyouth.info – This youth guide provides everything you need to know if you are under 18 years old, live in California, are pregnant or are already a parent. You can find answers about the law, public benefits, health care, father’s rights, your choices if you are pregnant, and where to go for help and advice. Plus they list all the resources for help by county so if you don’t live in LA, you can look up these services in other towns in CA.
http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/aflp/Pages/default.aspx – The Adolescent Family Life Program (AFLP) is a program offered by of the California Department of Health to assist pregnant and parenting teens and their children.
www.Text4Baby.org – This website provides free text messages with critical health and safety tips throughout your pregnancy (or your girlfriend’s pregnancy) and your baby’s first year. These text messages are also available in Spanish.
http://www.teensource.org/ts/ – This website provides a lot of health info for youth, including a clinic finder and a great list of links for other types of help for teens.
http://lawhelpca.org– This website offers free legal assistance and information, 1-800-914-2272.
https://www.aclunc.org/issues/reproductive_justice/asset_upload_file733_6271.pdf – This booklet called Your Health Your Rights, explains your rights to privacy and reproductive health care.
http://www.nwlc.org/our-issues/education-%2526-title-ix/pregnant-%2526-parenting-students – This website explains your rights to stay as pregnant and parenting students and also ways you can report if your rights are being violated.
In LA County:
http://www.ladpss.org/– Department of Public Social Services (the Welfare)
http://dpss.lacounty.gov/dpss/health/wic/default.cfm – Women, Infants & Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC)
http://www.ladpss.org/dpss/immigrant/default.cfm- Services for immigrants and their children to use certain public benefits without affecting their immigration status.