The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department’s “Healthier Beginnings/Parents Are First Teachers” (HB/PAFT) program has earned a prestigious endorsement by Parents as Teachers(PAT) National Center as a Blue Ribbon Affiliate. This makes it one of the top performing home visiting affiliates within the international Parents as Teachers network. The official designation was made on October 1, 2018.
Being named a Blue Ribbon Affiliate affirms that the Health Department’s HB/PAFT program is a high-quality member of the home visiting field, implementing the evidence-based Parents as Teachers model with fidelity. Program components include home visits, group connections, child screening and connections to community resources, equipping parents with knowledge, and resources to prepare their children for a stronger start in life and greater success in school.
“Hamilton County has a long history of health services for our children regardless of their income or where they live,” says Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, “Today, we are very proud to highlight the Parents Are First Teachers program for achieving this Blue Ribbon endorsement.”
The HB/PAFT home visiting program promotes the optimal early development, learning, and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers. Evaluation results of the PAFT home visiting model show:
- Children’s developmental delays and health problems are detected early
- Children enter kindergarten ready to learn and the achievement gap is narrowed
- Children achieve school success into the elementary grades
- Parents improve their parenting knowledge and skills
- Parents are more involved in their children’s schooling
- Families are more likely to promote children’s language and literacy.
HB/PAFT is for families with at least one qualifying characteristic including, but not limited to:
- Pregnant woman or new mother/under age 21
- Child has developmental delays or disabilities
- Physically or mentally challenged caregiver or family member
- Financial qualification.
A complete listing of qualifying characteristics can be found on the referral form on their website. Services can begin prenatally or postpartum and continue for a child through age 5 years.
“Home visiting programs are upstream efforts in public health,” says Marguerite Chambers, HB/PAFT Program Manager, “By helping families overcome their more significant challenges now, it can prevent far reaching negative outcomes downstream.”
Parents as Teachers internationally recognized evidence-based home visiting model is backed by 35 years of research-proven outcomes for children and families and currently serves 121,000 families in 50 U.S. states, 115 Tribal organizations, five other countries and one U.S. territory. Parents as Teachers is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and affiliates operate in various settings, including health departments, hospitals, schools, faith-based, and non-profit organizations. Hamilton County’s PAT affiliate (HB/PAFT) has served families continuously since 1994.
For more information, visit the Healthier Beginnings/PAFT webpage or call (423) 209-8298.