Penquis Community Action Program sponsors the Parents Are Teachers, Too program to provide information, encouragement and support to first-time parents and teen parents in order to help them give their children the best possible start.
The Penquis Community Action Program offers the Parents Are Teachers, Too (PATT) program to provide information, encouragement and support to first-time parents and teen parents in order to help them give their children the best possible start. A PATT brochure describes the program for parents who are expecting or recently (within the past three months) had their first baby, and all pregnant and parenting teens. Funding for PATT is through the State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Health. PATT is under the agency’s Family Enrichment Services Department and participation in the program is free for all parents.
Parents are able to enroll during pregnancy and may continue in the program until their child turns five years old. Both one-on-one and group activities are offered. Through home visits, parents receive research-based information on the following topics: healthy prenatal practices, labor and delivery, infant care, feeding and nutrition, health and safety issues, child development and healthy parenting and self-care skills. Topic groups and play groups are offered to parents and their children. Parents also receive assistance accessing other community resources such as public health nurses, physicians, childcare, preschool, housing, and WIC.
Additionally, teen parents receive case management services. A health history and needs assessment is completed for each teen and a Family Plan is developed with the teen. Childbirth education is provided either in a group setting or one-on-one in the home if the teen is unable to attend group classes. Many classes are in conjunction with the teen’s health care provider appointment. Ongoing play groups are also offered for teens and their children. A small reimbursement is available for attending groups.
Home Visitors use a variety of educational resources and tools to provide information and guidance based on individual family needs and interests. These include:
Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum material designed to enhance child development and school achievement through parent education with resources available that include:
- Resources and Tools
Educational Materials such as:
Knowledge Studio – Offers specialized curricula and training, both online and face-to-face, in a variety of topic-specific areas.
- Issues in Working with Teen Parents – Provides unique insights into the minds of teen parents for professionals working with teens.
- Focus on Fathering Curriculum
Touchpoints focuses on key points in the development of infants, toddlers and their families. Touchpoints are the predictable times and events in development when a child’s behavior seems to fall apart. They typically precede a spurt in a particular line of development. They are often accompanied by parental frustration and self-doubt. These can be seen as points of change for the family. As such, they offer the opportunity to make a difference with the family by forming an alliance with the parents on behalf of their child.
March of Dimes provides information with the goal of preventing birth defects and infant mortality.
Home visitors maintain caseloads of approximately 25 families each. Parents choose the frequency of home visits, which typically occur on an average of once a month or more frequently for parents with newborns or when a touchpoint occurs.
Teen childbirth and newborn education classes are held in the fall and spring - sample class schedule. Boot Camp for New Dads (BCND) workshops are offered quarterly for “rookie” dads (expectant dads). “Veteran” dads (of infants 2 to 4 months) share their experience and answer questions. The workshops are led by a trained facilitator and cover immediate concerns such as Becoming a Dad, Caring for New Moms, and Caring for Your New Baby. Specific workshop topics include:
The birth process
Holding a baby
What to do when the baby cries
Relationship with Mom
Other concerns that dads have
256 families and 238 children were served in FY ‘05:
- 45.7% enrolled prenatally and 54.3% enrolled postnatally
- 100% of the children had a primary care provider
- 95.7% of the children were up-to-date with immunizations
- 98.7% of the children were up-to-date with well child checkups
- 98.3% of the children had either insurance or MaineCare coverage
- 98% of the primary care givers had a primary care provider
Wesley Neff, Early Prevention Services Division Manager