ParentChild+ Home Visiting Staff: Stories of Resilience During COVID-19
You Zhou, ParentChild+ National Center, Mineola, New York; Arexy Bravo Stewart, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group ParentChild+, Palm Beach County, Florida; Jand acquelyn D. Robinson, Public Health Management Corporation ParentChild+, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In this resource
ParentChild+ is a national home visiting program dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for families in marginalized communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program worked more closely than ever with families and family care providers with young children to ensure they had the necessary tools and resources to support their children to thrive in school and life. This article documents how the frontline workers, despite all the challenges they faced during the pandemic, played a critical role in engaging families and communities and mitigating the devastating effects of the pandemic and its aftermath.
ParentChild+ (formerly known as the Parent-Child Home Program) is an early childhood home visiting program addressing the long-existing opportunity gap in low-income communities by supporting families with young children and home-based child care providers with information and tools to promote children’s healthy development before they enter school. With more than 50 years of implementation experience, the National Center partners with school districts, social service agencies, housing authorities, immigrant aid and faith-based organizations, and other community-based organizations, working in 16 states, Canada, Ireland, UK, Bermuda, and Chile. In 2020, ParentChild+ worked with almost 9,000 families and 180 family child care (FCC) providers caring for 1,400 families. The program reaches isolated caregivers with children from 16 months to 4 years old in historically marginalized communities.
ParentChild+’s most valuable assets are the early learning specialists (ELSs), the home visitors, who typically share a community, linguistic, and/or cultural context with the families they support. In 2020, we had 799 ELSs and 292 supervisors in our network. In ParentChild+’s One-on-One model, ELSs work individually with families, providing a total of 92 half-hour home visits that are delivered twice per week. Each week, they bring a gift of a book or educational toy, facilitating reading, conversation, and play activities designed to enhance parent–child interaction and develop language, literacy, numeracy, and social–emotional skills. In the FCC model, ELSs provide innovative, culturally and linguistically appropriate professional development and enrichment for FCC providers through 24 weeks of twice-weekly 45-minute visits, 12 books and toys, and an array of art supplies for creative, age-appropriate activities. The shared bonds and frequent visits build long-term trusting relationships enabling ELSs to connect families and providers with resources including housing, food, medical, and educational supports.