Growing Home’s Parents as Teachers program, also known as PAT, is not unique to us. In fact, it is a nationally-implemented program that served 2,445 children in Colorado alone. What does make our PAT program unique, however, is its success rate. Every year, the various programs are evaluated to see if the families they serve meet certain benchmarks. In their most recent evaluation, our PAT program got some phenomenal results.
In the past year, Growing Home’s PAT program served 317 guardians and 330 children in Adams County across the span of 3,731 home visits. Of these families, 49% of them are below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $25,750 per year for a family of four. This is important to take into consideration because children in poverty are more likely to fall behind in school, simply because of their upbringing up to that point. By the time a child in poverty reaches four years of age, they can already be as much as 18 months behind in cognitive development when compared to children not raised in poverty. This then sets the children on a trajectory that is difficult to come back from. The job of our parent educators is to combat this by practicing developmental skills with the children and encourage parents to do activities with their children that will stimulate development. By the time these children graduate from the program, they are at the level of cognitive development they need to be at when they enter kindergarten.
In a summary of their findings, the evaluators found that after entering Growing Home’s PAT program, 93% or more of guardians report that PAT increased their knowledge about recognizing developmental milestones, how to interact to help their child’s development, how to use good parenting practices, and positive discipline techniques. They also found that 98% of guardians exhibited average or above-average developmentally appropriate behavior with their children overall after going through the program.
These results are important because it means that the cycle of poverty is being stopped in its tracks, preventing it from being transferred to the younger generation. This factor of prevention is the best way to ensure that poverty rates will go down and that children are set up for success. We are so proud of our PAT program and know that they will continue to impact Adams County for the better.