Doula Care and Lactation Support Made Available in Two Pennsylvania State Prisons

Two doula projects in Pennsylvania have received funding from the state via the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) to explore innovative ways to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.

JHF is operating as the fiscal agent for federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to address maternal health needs. Two funding streams were established by the state legislative sponsors to expand and support doula care in Pennsylvania.

The first funding stream expands a pilot project between the DHS and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC). The goal of the project is to provide lactation support and doula care to pregnant inmates at two State Correctional Institutions serving women in Pennsylvania. Genesis Birth Services have been providing doula care to the pregnant population at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Muncy, near Williamsport, since 2022 through a separate funding stream, which will continue to be funded through JHF. Additional support is now being provided to the DOC to establish a lactation room at the facility, and to cover costs for milk shipment.

As the fiscal agent, JHF has worked with DHS and DOC to identify another doula provider to expand services to SCI Cambridge Springs, in the northwestern region of Pennsylvania. BirthRoot Community Doula Alliance, based out of Erie, will work with the pregnant SCI Cambridge Springs population by providing prenatal, birth, and postpartum care to all interested women. A lactation room and milk shipment program will also be established at SCI Cambridge Springs in 2024.

A second funding stream with the overall goal of improving access to doula care for pregnant people and new families in Pennsylvania supports doula training and certification efforts spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Doula Commission (PADC). Funding will enable the PADC to expand access to doulas for families in Pennsylvania. Additionally, PADC will cover the costs of Pennsylvania doulas to receive Pennsylvania state certification and additional training and will provide coverage for doulas for qualifying families residing in Pennsylvania. 

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