The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday, Feb. 23, announced the availability of $260 million in a new funding opportunity for the Title X family planning program to help improve and expand quality care. The funding opportunity will assist in the establishment and/or operation of voluntary family planning projects that will offer a broad range of family planning methods and services, including information, education and counseling related to family planning, preconception care, contraception, natural family planning and infertility services.
The funding announcement was supposed to have come by Nov. 1, with applications due Jan. 3, and funding available April 1. The applications are now due May 24, with funding to arrive in September. (Many clinics, however, operate on an April-to-April basis and may face financial difficulties with the delay in the grants.)
“We encourage all qualified organizations to apply, especially those proposing innovative strategies that would increase the number of clients served and the quality of services provided,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir, M.D. “We are committed to ensuring that we provide access to quality family planning services to the women and men who depend on this vital public health program.”
In particular, he said, this year’s funding opportunity is seeking applicants that offer a broad range of family planning and related health services tailored to the individual needs of the client and that promote optimal health outcomes. As emphasized in the statutory language governing the program, “none of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
The funding opportunity further requires that all Title X grantees develop monitoring and reporting policies, consistent with state law, in order to expand assurances that those who enter a Title X service site and who may be victims of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate partner violence or human trafficking, are afforded the help and legal protection to which they are entitled. For the first time, the funding opportunity requires that all staff are annually trained to respond to such needs.
Further, building on several years of HHS work to streamline the process of applying for Title X grants and ease burdens on applicants, interested organizations can now submit one application that covers multiple geographic service areas, rather than having to submit multiple applications for different service areas. This year will involve just one annual funding competition, rather than multiple competitions.
This funding announcement covers all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the six Pacific jurisdictions. The awards are expected to be issued in September of this year.
The HHS Office of Population Affairs oversees the Title X family planning program, which currently funds 84 grantees that support nearly 4,000 family planning sites nationwide and provides services to more than 4 million women and men each year. Title X service sites serve a population of mostly female, low-income and young clients. Title X grants are awarded through a competitive process to public and private nonprofit entities. Services funded with Title X grants are provided by state and local public health departments and/or community health, family planning and other private nonprofit agencies.
Applications for the Title X family planning services grants are due at 6:00 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Technical assistance will be provided to those who are interested in applying for grants.