|Citation:||Wagner, M. M., & Clayton, S. L. (1999). The Parents as Teachers Program: Results from two demonstrations. The Future of Children, 9(1), 91-115.|
This article reports on an evaluation of the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program, a parent-education program that uses home visiting as a principle service delivery strategy. Services begin prenatally or at birth and focus on strengthening parenting skills and parentsÕ abilities to teach their young children. The program began in a single state in the early 1980s and expanded to sites throughout the United States. Its appeal, in part, is that it is less expensive to implement than center-based program interventions that rely on nurses. The studies reported here evaluated two demonstration programs, one focused on Latino families and the other on teen parent families. In the study of Latino families, 497 families were randomly assigned to participant and control groups; participants in the treatment group received an average of 20 home visits over a three-year project period, with visits typically ranging from 28 to 50 minutes in duration. In the study of teen parent families, 704 participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: PAT services alone, case management services alone, combined PAT and case management services, or a control group. Both studies collected a variety of data on parentsÕ background, knowledge, attitudes, and parenting behaviors; as well as data on childrenÕs health and development. Study results from the two sites indicated that the program had no significant effect on parenting knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors. Likewise, the effect on child health or health care was not significant. There was mixed evidence regarding the programÕs effects on childrenÕs cognitive development; significant cognitive effects emerged only with the use of multivariate analyses and only on one of several cognitive measures used. The authors note that findings from these evaluations Òare consistent with the overall research base for family-focused early-childhood programs, which have produced Ômodest and inconsistent effectsÕ (citing Gomby, Larner, Stevenson, et al., 1995)Ó (p. 110).
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