Parents As Teachers

Parents as Teachers seeks to provide the information, support, and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.
Siblings dressing up in all blue for Prevent Child Abuse Month, April 2022.

Program Manager: Savannah Patrick

Mission Statement: Parents as Teachers seeks to provide the information, support, and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.

Vision: All children will learn, grow, and develop to realize their full potential.

Program:  Parents as Teachers (PAT) is an evidence-based home visitation program provided to at-risk families with children ages 0-5. PAT services include home-based parent education services, family assessments, developmental screens, group meetings, and information and referral services.

Twice monthly home visits are provided by trained, certified Parent Educators using the PAT Foundational Curriculum. Research indicates that there are windows of opportunity during the early years of a child’s life when learning takes place more easily. Through collaboration with a team of neuroscientists, PAT developed a comprehensive curriculum which focuses on the early years of a child’s life. During home visits Parent Educators focus on increasing parent knowledge of early child development, which enhances parent-child attachment and reduces child maltreatment. Since education begins at home and parents are their child’s first and most influential teachers, supporting and educating parents is a logical strategy. Parents who are involved in their child’s early care and education have children who are better prepared for school and for life. Parent Educators assist families in identifying and accessing community resources which will address specific child and family needs. Parent Educators work with families to help them identify needs, set goals, connect with appropriate resources, and overcome barriers to accessing services. After each home visit the Parent Educator reports observations in language development, intellectual development, social-emotional development, gross/fine motor development, and family strengths.

Child development screens are conducted using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire - Social and Emotional (ASQ-SE2). Screening young children is an effective, efficient way to catch problems and start treatment when it does the most good during the crucial early years when the child’s brain and body are developing rapidly. Because developmental and social-emotional delays can be subtle and can occur in children who appear to be developing typically, most children who would benefit from early intervention are not identified until after they start school. Research underscores the importance of early intervention: developmental delays, learning disorders, and behavioral and social-emotional problems are estimated to affect 1 in every 6 children and only 20% to 30% of these children are identified as needing help before school begins. Intervention prior to kindergarten has huge academic, social, and economic benefits. Studies have shown that children who receive early treatment for developmental delays are more likely to graduate from high school, hold jobs, live independently, and avoid teen pregnancy, delinquency, and violent crime. If social-emotional problems are identified and addressed early, children are less likely to be placed in special education programs and experience school failure and unemployment. Studies show that when professionals use reliable and valid screening instruments, they are able to identify 70% to 80% of children with developmental delays. Children with developmental delays receive immediate intervention services to address those delays.

The overall objectives of PAT are:

The Expected outcomes will be that:

Program Services in 2021:

Program Funding: This program currently receives funding from the Department of Public Health - Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, Dalton Public Schools, the Alan S. Lorberbaum Family Foundation, United Way of Northwest Georgia, and contributions.

Quality Assurance Measures: The PAT Standards and Quality Indicators establishes a blueprint for quality implementation and ensures fidelity to the model. The standards are intended to provide clear guidelines for implementing PAT and to continually propel programs to even higher levels of excellence in serving families. The Parents as Teachers Program received a Quality Endorsement Certification of Excellence from the Parents as Teachers National Organization for 2019-2024. This site was awarded a Blue-Ribbon Affiliate status after completing the Quality Endorsement in 2019. The University of Georgia Center for Family Research evaluates the overall effectiveness of service delivery in meeting the objectives and achieving expected outcomes. As part of this process, formal evaluation tools are administered at prescribed intervals during the family’s participation in the program. The following evaluation tools are completed at prescribed intervals to measure outcomes: Ages & Stages Questionnaire -3 rd edition (ASQ-3), Ages & Stages Questionnaire – Social & Emotional (ASQ-SE2), the Life Skills Progression™ (LSP), the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Parenting Interactions with Children/Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes (PICOLLO), the Get Ready to Read (GRTR),and the following Domestic Violence Screens: Relationship Assessment Tool (RATS for women) and the Hurt, Insult, Threaten, Scream (HITS for men).