A Stabilizing Force for America’s Families
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ST. LOUIS, MO, May 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – As the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Parents As Teachers (PAT), the nation’s leading internationally recognized children’s home visiting program, quickly flipped and expanded its home calling options. Interactive video conferencing technologies were used to carry out the traditional on-site visits.
From March 2020 to April 2021, PAT members implementing the evidence-based home visit model made 545,064 virtual family visits nationwide. On May 17, 2021, PAT will be featured on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network https://www.ninepbs.org/living-st-louis/ to highlight the experience and knowledge gained by offering and delivering virtual visits during of the pandemic.
“Virtual visits have helped my family during the pandemic by giving my kids something to look forward to and a familiar face to interact with,” said Vanessa, a mother enrolled in the PAT program is an educator and navigate through the unknown in these difficult times. Most of all, they have provided me with some amazing tips and the resources I need to be the best mom to my kids during this pandemic. “
Megan Maier, a St. Louis-based PAT home visitor who works in the Ferguson / Florissant, Missouri ward, said, “We had to find ways to support families, such as on the porch, to get them through this time .
“Families needed more time so that parents could talk to another adult about anything,” Maier said, adding: “I also had to find more resources from food banks for more families than ever before. We are fortunate that there are many different places where children and families can eat for free. “
As part of PAT’s comprehensive suite of services to improve early development, learning, and health outcomes for children, home visitors work with parents to help them understand their child’s development. Home visitors continue to serve as a trusted resource for families. They help families access health care, technology, educational support for young children, and mental health services. In addition, home visitors connect parents with family organizations to ensure safe housing, transportation to work, and necessities such as diapers and emergency food.
Many families with limited resources faced complex needs before the pandemic and are now facing much more acute challenges. Serving different communities reduces the differential impacts of poverty while improving access to quality early childhood education amid the rapidly evolving but somewhat easing pandemic.
The culturally relevant programming of PAT is aimed at different families. In 2019, PAT reached nearly 88,000 families in 48 states, territories, and tribal areas and made more than 967,000 home visits. Approximately 17 percent of the families supported by PAT were black, 30 percent were Hispanic, and five percent were Native American / Alaskan. 26 percent spoke a language other than English.
Constance Gully, PAT president and chief executive officer, noted that as the number of families living in poverty increases, the recovery of families in the post-COVID-19 world will require even more home visit support.
“In the transition back to personal visits [as allowed under local policies]A virtual visit remains an ideal option for families affected by the varied effects of the pandemic, including families with difficult schedules or family members with chronic conditions who may not be recommended face-to-face contact, ”Gully said.
“PAT will continue to provide culturally relevant, evidence-based support to various communities so that they can raise their children safely, develop work and life skills, and access the support and services necessary to connect their communities and empower their families. ” she noticed.
Research shows that the significant, long-term benefits of home visits, including early childhood education, reading, and math outcomes, decreased child absenteeism, decreased child abuse and abuse, improved school performance and employment; Prevention of crime, violence and anti-social behavior; Obesity and promoted healthy physical development.
“There’s a clear endorsement of the benefits of our parenting commitment,” said Allison Kemner, PAT’s vice president, research and quality. “Home visits – whether in person or virtual – remain the most cost-effective and practical way to help underserved families transition out of the pandemic and meet the challenges of recovery.”
Parents as teachers also conduct maternal depression assessments during the postpartum period and help mothers find appropriate recommendations for intervention when certain risk factors, including trauma or domestic violence, are present in a family. Early health and developmental evaluations help parents identify potential concerns so families can be associated with appropriate services and therapies. These outcomes and services that PAT delivers will be a force in helping families recover from the pandemic.
The renowned pediatrician Dr. Dipesh Navsaria clarified that there is ample evidence of the benefits of home visits, especially for families who are experiencing significant stress. “While the pandemic affects us all, the effects of disruption in the workplace, loss of childcare and schooling, and isolation have hit the least equipped of us first,” he said. “Home visit programs can benefit everyone – parenting is not an easy task for anyone and we can all use help after a global crisis.”
About parents as teachers
Parents Teachers (PAT) form healthy communities, thriving families, and children who are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. It brings parents and caregivers together with trained professionals who make regular personal home visits in the earliest years of a child’s life, from pregnancy to kindergarten. The internationally recognized evidence-based home visit model is based on 35 years of research-proven results for children and families. PAT currently serves nearly 200,000 families in all 50 US states, 115 tribal organizations, six other countries, and one US territory. Parents Teachers National Center, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in St. Louis, Missouri.
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Eric Parents as Teachers 3144324330 [email protected] Source: Parents as Teachers National Center