PCHP and Working Families
August 19, 2014 • By Sarah Walzer

As a single parent, with unpredictable hours, struggling to buy groceries, collecting dimes for public transportation, moving frequently, and desperately trying to create a better life and stable home environment for her child — Ms. Navarro, a mother and Starbucks‘ employee’s with an irregular work schedule, was featured this week in The NY Times piece, “Working Anything But 9 to 5.” This story highlights a few of the many challenges that low income families experience on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many of the families participating in PCHP and other home visiting programs are in situations similar to Ms. Navarro’s, situations that highlight why #homevisiting, which reaches families where they are living and on a schedule that works for them, can be such an effective and important way to reach under-resourced families.

The Parent-Child Home Program works with families who are challenged by poverty, language and literacy barriers, limited education, isolation, and complicated lives. PCHP’s community-based Early Literacy Specialists, or home visitors, travel to families’ homes twice a week, no matter where they are living, at a time that fits in the family’s schedule. Home visitors understand that life for low-wage workers can be very unpredictable, and because of this, allot time during the week for ‘make-up visits’ so families can stay on track with the Program and are able to reschedule when they have a conflict. Families participating in PCHP receive a new book or educational toy each week, and support and guidance from their home visitor in bringing reading, talking, and playing with their children into their daily lives. Many PCHP families report that the home visits make all the difference in helping them prepare their children for school success. Data supports those claims: low-income children who complete the Program enter school performing 10 months above their chronological age; are 50% less likely to be referred to special education services; and graduate high school at a 30% higher graduation rate than their socioeconomic peers, the same rate as their middle-income peers.

The Parent-Child Home Program is proven to work for families facing the challenges of low-wage work and limited access to high quality early education. After participating in a minimum of 92 home visits, PCHP children are prepared to enter school ready to succeed, and their parents and caregivers know that they are their children’s first and most important teachers.