In 1992, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services were charged with creating a new level of integration, coordination and enhancement of services for Pennsylvania children and families. In pursuit of this goal, the departments developed the Pennsylvania Community Based Family Center Initiative as an efficient way of providing needed supports and community services to help families and their children build on the protective factors that result in positive outcomes in improved health, education and economic self-sufficiency.
Each of the current 34 Pennsylvania Community Based Family Centers offers a core set of services designed around the evidence-based home visiting model, Parents as Teachers (PAT), a high-quality program federally recognized as meeting rigorous standards for effectiveness in the reduction of incidents of child abuse and neglect, increased school readiness and increased parental knowledge of child development.
Parents as Teachers promote the optimal early development, learning, and health of young children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers. PAT programs serve families from pregnancy through kindergarten. Programs encourage parents to participate in advisory committees and provide opportunities for leadership in the community. Certified Parent Educators work with families over time to promote a parent’s role as their child’s first and most influential teacher.
Families who enroll in PAT programs participate in-home visits that engage families in parent-child activities, discussions on child development and parenting topics, as well as family well-being issues. Families may also choose to participate in parent/child group activities, family goal setting and connection to community resources.
A bingo game provided by the Community Action Partnership of Lancaster helps alleviate stress for the Valencia Family.
The Valencia Family has grown so much since they started with the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program. Mom always participates in the home visiting activities to support her children’s learning and development, but also to keep strengthening their family well-being. Recently, after playing a virtual game of bingo with her children, mom shared the following statement at our next virtual home visit:
“These bingos were like therapy for me. Every time I feel anxious, scared, or worried from watching too much news, I play this game with my children and feel better. Thank you so much for helping my family and me stay sane during this time of isolation! No one says parenting is easy, but with encouragement, good attitude, and support from my Parent Educator at the Lancaster Family Center, I do feel better!”
Click here to read the full story in the Pennsylvania Community Based Family Centers newsletter.
For more information on Parents as Teachers and how you can enroll, visit CAPLanc.org/PAT