Texas Parents as Teachers

a program of Mental Health America of Texas Mental Health America Logo


What is Texas Parents as Teachers?

The Parents as Teachers program is an evidence-based early childhood home visiting framework that builds strong communities, thriving families and children who are healthy, safe and ready to learn.  Parents as Teachers certified professional parent educators who implement the program emphasize parent-child interaction, development centered parenting and family well-being in their work with families.  There are four interrelated and integrated components of the model: personal visits, group connections, screening and resource network.  Together, these form a dynamic package of services.  Parents as Teachers serves a range of families with varying needs and offers services throughout the continuum from prenatal to kindergarten entry.

The Parents as Teachers model has four primary goals:

  1. Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development and improve parenting practices
  2. Provide early detection of developmental delays and health issues
  3. Prevent child abuse and neglect
  4. Increase children’s school readiness and school success

Program Components include home visits (frequency of weekly to monthly is determined by the local program based on needs of the family); group connections; screening (health, vision, hearing, developmental, and more); and connecting families to community resources.

The 2011 digital curriculum is grounded in the latest research and consists of parent-child activities, parent handouts, and parent educator resources that are available 24/7 wherever internet access is available.  Embedded links take you quickly to subjects or handouts and the handouts can be printed in any quantity for the families being served. 

Each visit plan includes a parent-child activity, parenting strategies to promote healthy development, and a focus on family well-being.  There is also a time for book sharing included in the visit.

Initial training for staff consists of 3 days of Foundational Training and 2 days of Model Implementation Training for Parent Educators.  Supervisors are required to attend the 2 days of Model Implementation and encouraged to also attend the 3 days of Foundational Training.  National website www.parentsasteachers.org includes the following tools and resources:

  • Logic model showing expected outcomes
  • Overlay of at-risk demographics and the Parents as Teachers fit
  • Parents as Teachers Affiliate Implementation Plan
  • Table aligning Parents as Teachers outcomes with MIECHV benchmarks
  • Interactive budget tool for implementation of Parents as Teachers

Why Parents as Teachers in Texas?

Parents as Teachers has been operating in Texas since 1986 with sites across the state reaching thousands of children and families.  Texas is a Parents as Teachers leader and established the first certified training team outside of the Parents as Teachers National Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Texas data show many challenges such as: teen pregnancy; high drop-out rates; special education needs; late referral to appropriate early childhood intervention services; and the number of children coming to school with drastically varying levels of readiness. These data indicate the importance of addressing the need for parents to both understand child development milestones and know ways they can encourage developing skills.  Familiarity with community resources is also crucial.  Research confirms that social and emotional school readiness is critical to a successful kindergarten transition, school success, and later accomplishments in the workplace. 

Boy playing with a BallWho participates in Parents as Teachers Texas?

Families in the Texas programs are ethnically and racially diverse.  As of 2011, 69.9% of children served are Hispanic or Latino and 34.4% of families speak Spanish as their primary language.  Of the non-Hispanic/Latino families, 17.4% are White, 6.7% are Black/African American, 2.2 % are multi-racial, 0.7% are American Indian, and 0.5% are of Asian descent.

Families served come from all types of communities – rural, urban and suburban from small towns to major cities.  As of 2011, 95% of two-year olds in Texas Parents as Teachers were up-to-date on their immunizations, well above the state average.

Parent Educators include professionals in early childhood education, social work and medical fields, and 66% have a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or beyond.  Programs report that as of 2011, 55% of all Parent Educators are bilingual.

 What’s the Return on Investment for the Community?

Parents as Teachers is effective and economical with a large return on investment to taxpayers—the cost per family served is approximately $1500 in programs providing monthly visits.  A 2004 independent cost-benefit analysis of the Parents as Teachers program nationwide showed communities saw a $800 per child return on investment (a $4,300 benefit minus costs over 2.5 years).  The study also compared pre-kindergarten education programs.  Of all the programs reviewed, Parents as Teachers had the largest benefit per dollar of cost ($1.23) to the community for every dollar spent.

The federal government has recognized the impact of home visiting and has recognized Parents as Teachers as an effective model by funding new programs and program expansions around Texas and the United States.  Learn more about Parents as Teachers and MIECHV grants here: http://www.parentsasteachers.org/resources/federal-home-visiting-program

For more information, contact us!

Elaine Shiver, Program Director
Texas Parents as Teachers:

5952 Royal Lane, Suite 261
Dallas, TX 75230
Phone: (214) 363-8661
Fax: (214) 363-8664

A program of
Mental Health America of Texas

An affiliate of the
Parents as Teachers National Center