Parent-Child Development

What it is:
Parent-Child Development Services (PCDS) parent educators provide personalized coaching to families facing significant situational and/or systemic barriers such as poverty, substance abuse, family criminality, or mental health issues. Through home visiting, parent and child playgroups, and connections to resources, educators promote positive parenting, healthy child development, and school readiness.

Why it’s important:
The home is the first and most important learning environment for every child. By focusing on the success of the whole family, parent educators help set children up for success in school. Research shows that two years of home visiting, plus one year of preschool help children in poverty overcome early educational disadvantages that may otherwise keep them behind in school.

How it works:
Parent educators visit families in their homes, conduct screenings, facilitate groups, and connect families to resources to strengthen family systems and support the healthy development of children six and under. Personalized home visits address family specific needs and build upon family strengths in culturally responsive ways. Regular, developmental screenings and health screenings help parents understand their child’s development, and identify any potential areas of concern that might require intervention. Facilitated groups offer opportunities for parents to support and learn from each other, reduce isolation, and build community.

Parent educators coached 554 families in 2015/2016. In all, they referred three-quarters of three and four year olds in the program to Head Start or another preschool, and they connected three-quarters of families with five year olds to kindergarten.

PCDS parent educators follow the Parents as Teachers (PAT) model, an early childhood home visiting program that builds strong communities, thriving families, and children who are healthy, safe and ready to learn.