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History of the Family Planning Program

In 1964, Public Health - Seattle & King County opened the doors of its first family planning clinic, located in the White Center community. Over the next decade, growing recognition of family planning as an essential part of public health resulted in the extension of these services to much of King County.

In recent years, Public Health has expanded its core program to include services targeted to specific populations, such as adolescents and the homeless. In collaboration with the University of Washington, the Public Health Family Planning program is now a multi-faceted program that provides clinical services, community-based health education, and outreach throughout King County.

Program overview

The Family Planning Program has three integrated components:

  • Clinical services at locations across King County providing over 36,000 visits a year to over 19,000 individuals
  • CSO (DSHS Community Service Office) Services providing outreach, pregnancy testing, and information and referral to assist low-income women in accessing Family Planning Services, Maternity Support Services and other services as appropriate
  • Health education and outreach providing a bridge to the unique communities that surround each of our health department locations

Our client population is largely low-income, uninsured or underinsured individuals. We provide interpretation staff for those clients who speak English as a second language. Our Family Planning clinics enjoy a reputation in the community as places where it is safe to receive services regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, legal residency status, or ability to pay. Our outreach and Health Education strategies target clients of all races and cultures.

Program goals

The primary goal of the Family Planning Program is to decrease the rate of unintended (unplanned) pregnancy and improve the reproductive and sexual health of all King County residents. We rely on our relationships with multiple community agencies and organizations in order to accomplish this goal; we also continue to build and maintain expertise in family planning and issues related to sexuality. Examples of our community partners include: Community Service Offices (DSHS), school districts, youth and family service agencies, community coalitions and task forces, and youth centers and shelters.

In order to focus our efforts and accomplish our stated purpose, we have set two goals for ourselves. These include:

  • Reducing the rate of teen pregnancy. We aim to reduce the rate of teen pregnancies (ages 15-17) to 46 pregnancies per 1,000 population by 2010; and
  • Increasing the number of women using an effective birth control method. We aim to accomplish this by increasing the number of our family planning clients who leave their annual visit with a birth control method.