Parents as Teachers
About the Program
The concept for Parents as Teachers was developed in the 1970s when Missouri educators noted that children were beginning kindergarten with varying levels of school readiness. Research showed that greater parent involvement is a critical link in the child’s development of learning skills, including reading and writing. Early childhood professionals suggested that a program to provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues, and parent education to help parents understand their role in encouraging their child’s development from the beginning could help improve school readiness and parent involvement.
Parents as Teachers in New Jersey is a program of Prevent Child Abuse – New Jersey. The program is part of the Parents as Teachers National network. To learn more about Parents as Teachers, visit www.parentsasteachers.org.
NJ PAT Advisory Committee
The NJ PAT Advisory Committee is an advisory board for the State network of programs and is comprised of program supervisors, managers, and PCA-NJ staff who:
- Review and develop NJ PAT operating policies and/or procedures.
- Address suggestions, comments, and concerns on existing policies and program materials on an ongoing basis.
- Advise on issues of advocacy and program sustainment.
- Provide direction to the NJ PAT network.
- Advise on issues related to research and data collection.
- Pilot new initiatives.
- Create and advise on goals, objectives, outcomes, and State and National Standards.
The current NJ PAT Advisory Committee members are:
- Deborah Brasch, Program Supervisor, Caring for Kids
- Jenny Fischbein, Program Manager, Plainfield Connections
- Karen Hoppock, Program Manager, Mercer Street Friends
- Michelle LaRue, Director of Education, FamCare, Inc
- Jorge Montanez-Murillo, Program Supervisor, Youth Consultation Services
- Jessica Nugent, Director, Home Visiting & Community Initiatives, PCA-NJ
- Eva Szmutko, Program Coordinator, PCA-NJ
Parents as Teachers Logic Model
The Parents as Teachers Logic Model serves as a template to guide the services that each Parents as Teachers program provides in correlation with the goals set forth by Parents as Teachers National and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.
These goals help to ensure that all families enrolled in the program receive parent support, socialization to decrease isolation, education and information on positive parenting and parent-child bonding, information on maternal-child health and well-being, and linkages to community resources on an as needed basis.
Independent evaluation has been integral to the success of Parents as Teachers since its inception. Research has been conducted and supported by state governments, independent school districts, private foundations, universities and research organizations, and outcome data has been collected from more than 16,000 children and parents.
For more information on Parents as Teachers research, please visit Parents As Teachers’ “Outcomes Research” page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are you/are you affiliated with DCP&P?
A: Parents as Teachers is not a DCP&P program. We are an independent, home visiting program which focuses on parental support for new and expectant parents.
Q: Am I eligible to receive Parents as Teachers home visiting services?
A: Parents as Teachers can service anyone either expecting a child or with a child up to five years old. To learn more about the eligibility requirements of a Parents as Teachers program near you, please contact your local site.
Q: Does it cost anything to receive services?
A: Parents as Teachers is FREE and voluntary for all who choose to enroll in its services.
Q: How can I request home visiting services?
A: To request home visiting services, you can start by contacting a program near you. Ask to speak with the Program Supervisor, who will be more than happy to assist you in the process.
Q: What does it mean for the program to be “voluntary”?
A: As a consumer, you have the right to terminate your relationship with a Parents as Teachers provider anytime you wish for any reason. All Parents as Teachers programs seek to improve the services they are able to provide, and would appreciate honest feedback from you, the consumer, should you wish to terminate services early. Sometimes, home visitors may provide you with a survey at the end of your services to allow you the opportunity to describe your experiences with program services. If you are not given this option, but would still like to give feedback, contact the Program Supervisor of the Parents as Teachers program you are enrolled with, and they will be more than happy to hear from you.
Q: My DCP&P/Social Service worker is telling me that I am mandated to participate in this program. How does this requirement correlate with the voluntary nature of program services?
A: Parents as Teachers programs operate independently of DCP&P and social services. Parents as Teachers will always offer consumers the right to terminate services at any time. However, we cannot prevent DCP&P or social services from mandating your participation in our programs for their own program requirements.
If you are being mandated to participate in home visiting by either your DCP&P or social service worker and would like to stop receiving home visiting services, we recommend that you contact your individual caseworker to discuss this possibility.
Q: What are the qualifications of the home visitors?
A: Parent Educators (i.e. home visitors), receive intensive training throughout the first year of their employment on issues related to working with and supporting families with children. In their first year, a home visitor will typically receive more than 100 hours of instruction on a variety of topics such as parent-child interaction, child development , engaging fathers, child health and safety, working with teen parents, cultural differences, etc.
2/3 of Home Visitors and supervisors have attained at least bachelor’s degrees, while of the remaining 1/3, half have received some college instruction or an associate’s degree.
Q: How often will I receive visits?
A: Service intensity varies according to the amount of time each family spends in the program. After enrollment, most families receive weekly home visits. Over time, and after learning more parenting skills and increasing parental knowledge, the home visitor will begin to meet with the family every other week, and then eventually once a month.
Q: How long will I receive visits?
A: Home visiting services are offered until a child turns 5 years old.
Q: What happens on a home visit?
A: Since this is the parent’s family, the parent sets the agenda for each personal visit. The parent educator is there to provide well-researched information to help parents make good parenting decisions and to provide concrete support for parents in times of need. Group connections link parents together so they can learn and grow together. Regular screenings make sure children are healthy, safe, and developing on track. For parents who need more help or special resources, the parent educator will make the introduction and connect them.
On each visit, the home visitor and parent look at the child’s development and talk about the parenting challenges the parent faces. Together, they will think about family dynamics impacting the child’s development and the parent’s parenting values and decisions. The parent and home visitor will also work together to build strong protective factors to keep the parent, child, and family healthy, strong, and resilient.
The home visitor will also work with the parent on identifying and completing goals related to their work and personal life. This may include such things as: introducing healthy eating habits to children, creating a bedtime routine/schedule, building a resume, searching for a new job, etc. The goals that are created are always specific to each family’s wants, needs, and concerns. They are individualized to suit the specific need of each specific family.
Q: Can the Parents as Teachers program or its home visitors share my information with anyone else?
A: Not without your written consent. Parents as Teachers services are strictly confidential. However, you should be aware that all New Jersey residents, including Parents as Teachers parent educators, are “Mandated Reporters.” As such, we are all required to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
Q: Other than home visits, can Parents as Teachers help my family to obtain any other benefits?
A: While Parents as Teachers does not provide direct financial assistance to families, our staff has a wealth of knowledge of the services available in your community and, in most cases, collaborative relationships with those service providers. It is part of our mission to support and empower the families we serve in obtaining additional community support services. In addition, many of our sites receive donations from various sources and are often able to help families by providing a limited amount of material items such as diapers, gift cards, clothing, and household items.