Parent Child Home GraduationFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2013

Parent-Child Home, an evidence-based home visitation strategy targeted to help low income families, celebrates its first class of graduates who are showing developmental success

On June 20, United Way of Dane County and Center for Families were proud to honor their first graduating class of Parent-Child Home Program students. The 35 four year olds are the first group of students to go through the evidence-based home visitation program whose primary goal is to ensure children enter kindergarten with the necessary skills to succeed—a critical strategy in preparing students for a lifetime of academic success and in closing the racial achievement gap.

“We are overjoyed to see the developmental growth and change in this first class of students,” says Mike Kenitz, Executive Director of Center for Families. “These students are on a path to success, one that will change their future forever. These results show that targeted early childhood educational programs make the difference and can start kids ahead and keep them ahead.”

The Parent-Child Home Program is an evidence-based strategy that focuses on the parent and child interaction, reaching developmental milestones, and language growth. The program targets low income families with children two years of age. A home visitor visits a family twice a week for two years. Each week the child receives a new, developmentally appropriate book or toy to keep. The home visitor shows the parent how to interact with their child using that book or toy. The second visit of the week reinforces the use of the book or toy and ensures its being used.

“Parent-Child Home Program is some of our most exciting new work,” says Leslie Ann Howard, President and CEO of United Way of Dane County. “Longitudinal research of this program shows participants have significantly higher graduation rates than their peers who weren’t in the program. They also graduated at the same rate as children from middle class families. It just goes to show that changing the first five years of life, changes everything.”

An independent study, conducted by the City of New York Office of the Comptroller, calculates savings from the reduced need for special education services for Parent-Child Home Program graduates at $210,000 per child.

In July of last year, the Board of Directors at United Way of Dane County approved the expansion of its Parent-Child Home Program from the 35 students (graduating today) to 130 students/families in 2012-2013. The reach of this program was broaden even further in September 2012 as it is included as a part of the nation’s first ever Leopold Early Childhood Zone, which will focus on connecting families served by the Leopold School district in Madison and Fitchburg with consistent resources from birth to five years old.

United Way’s commitment to early childhood education is expanding even further this year as they are digging into the issues of preparing our earliest students for success in the first five years of their life with the reconvening the Born Learning Delegation, which originally met in 2007. This group of local leaders, co-led by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Michael Morgan, Sr. VP of Administrative & Fiscal Affairs at the University of Wisconsin System, will meet over the next six months to create additional set of strategies to reach even more of our highest risk families and students in their early years.

“Evaluating the success of our programs is something that we have done from day one. This most recent delegation gives us an opportunity to continue to improve the results of our early childhood work to benefit each and every young student,” says Howard. “Assessing programs that work (like Parent-Child Home program) responding to the community’s needs and feedback, and finding the best ways to address critical community issues will always be our core work in the community.”

To Become a Volunteer with Parent Child Home Program

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please call United Way 2-1-1 or log onto www.unitedwaydanecounty.org and click on the VOLUNTEER button.

About Parent Child-Home Program
Parent-Child Home Program prepares young children for school success by strengthening positive parent child interaction that develops critical language and pre-literacy skills. Parents and children are in the program for two years, ages 2-4 years. Services take place in the family home. For information or to find of you might be eligible for this program contact Teri Weiland at 729-1162 or TeriW@centerforfamilies.org.

 About Center for Families

Center for Families offers instruction; support, emergency child care, in-home visits and resources that parents need to meet the challenges of parenting, and create a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for their children. Center for Families’ programs follow best practices in various child development and in-home visiting methods to develop and strengthen parenting skills.

About United Way of Dane County

United Way of Dane County is addressing the underlying causes of community issues through our community’s Agenda for Change—seven goals focused on three priority areas of Education, Safety and Health that our community identified as most critical to changing lives and strengthening Dane County. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, we are achieving measurable results toward making our community better educated, safer, and healthier. United Way provides organizations and individuals the opportunity to give, advocate, and volunteer to change the human condition in Dane County.