Frequently Asked Questions

Now that the Foundational Curriculum Toolkit cards have been updated, do we need to purchase all of our parent educators the updated Toolkit?

No, you do not have to purchase all staff an updated toolkit for the curriculum. Any staff that went to training on or after November 14, 2016 will have the updated toolkit cards.  The older toolkit cards can be swapped out by printing the updated cards on cardstock, laminating them, and then replacing the updated cards in the existing toolkits.  To locate the updated cards, login to the online curriculum page and click on the Quick Links > Online Curricula Updates Blog. If you would like to purchase new toolkits, they are available in the PAT eStore.

Often questions come up in technical assistance about parents completing the questionnaires for the ASQ-3 and ASQ:SE-2 developmental screenings. Many users find inviting parents to complete ASQ helps them engage families and start the conversation about their child’s development. However, others see a source of concern. What if the parent scored it lower (or higher) than I did when I observed the child? What if the parent skipped over an item?

Ages and Stages Questionnaires website covers this in their Newsletter Article-Putting Your Trust in Parents.  While involving families can be challenging at times, parents are almost always the best source of information about their children.  Research has shown that parents are highly accurate when reporting about their child’s development and that parent concerns are highly predictive of actual problems. From the types of questions to how norms were established to determine cutoff scores, ASQ-3 and ASQ:SE-2 were intended to be completed by parents, either on their own, or with some support by providers.

Parents who are more involved in their children’s development are better equipped to understand what to expect at different age ranges, and how they can encourage progress and identify concerns. Children with involved parents are more likely to get the support they need and be prepared for school and future success. “When parents are involved in the screening process, they have more opportunities to learn about their child’s development and–if the child needs to go on for further evaluation or services–feel empowered to share their knowledge and concerns with Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education services,” says Kimberly Murphy, ASQ co-developer.

There are some scenarios—such as a cognitive disability, limited reading skills, or active drug abuse—that can make it difficult or impossible for parents to complete the questionnaire on their own. In these cases, parents will need support in the process. Some parents may only need minimal assistance, such as clarification on a particular item or assistance reading some items. Others may need a great deal of support, for example a parent with a cognitive disability may need support reading items, trying them out with their child and interpreting their child’s responses. In addition, parents who speak a different language or dialect may require an interpreter or community health worker throughout the process.

When you don’t entrust parents with questionnaire completion, your program is missing out on all of the great benefits this screening method can bring. The best way to limit the frustrations that can arise from parent report is to engage with parents sooner.

One question that comes up often in technical assistance around completing the APR and grant writing is: How do you calculate supervisory FTE?

FTE stands for Full-Time Equivalent, which is a measure of hours per week that are allocated for a given job. This is a way to measure time devoted to supervisory activities which may be done by multiple different people. This is not a count of the number of supervisors employed by the agency. It is also not a count of the number of full-time employees at the agency doing supervisory work. For example, if you have two Parents as Teachers Supervisors that are full-time and devote 40 hours per week affiliate activities, then you would write 2.0 FTE. But, let’s say that each of those supervisors carries a small caseload and provides personal visits to families on average 10 hours a week, then they are only devoting 30 hours a week to supervisory activities or 0.75 FTE each, and so you would enter 1.5 FTE even though there are two supervisors employed full-time by your agency.

Supervisory activities for a Parents as Teachers affiliate include a variety of tasks. Some supervisory tasks are: preparing for and delivering reflective supervision and staff meetings, working with your affiliate advisory committee, writing and reviewing policies and procedures for the affiliate, supervising parent educators and providing service delivery oversight, and many other duties. Parents as Teachers requires that at minimum, there is one supervisory FTE for every 12 parent educators employed, regardless of whether those parent educators are full-time or part-time. Many affiliates find that in order to provide high-quality Parents as Teachers services to families in their community, that they need a ratio closer to one supervisory FTE to five or six parent educators.

Some Parents as Teachers supervisors also supervise non-Parents as Teachers staff, the time spent on non-PAT related activities should be subtracted from this measure. In some affiliates, multiple people fulfill the various supervisory roles. These affiliates should consider who supervises their parent educators. Who completes the APR, or provides reflective supervision, and so on. These affiliates, and others may find that they have a full 1.0 FTE of supervisory time spread out among a number of different affiliate staff members.

When is our program required to start using the updated Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social Emotional 2 (ASQ: SE2) for screening?   Do we need to retrain if we are currently using the ASQ: SE?

PAT programs must purchase and begin to use the new ASQ: SE2 kits not later than September 2016. Staff who have already been trained in ASQ: SE do not need to come to ASQ: SE2 training. The training is recommended for any new staff.

Does our affiliate have to use the Parents as Teachers Screening Summary?

No. However, program funders and PAT require that parents be given verbal and written summaries of all developmental screening results, including information about next stages of development and strategies to promote development. In addition, for particular areas of concern identified through screening, parent educators should make and document specific recommendations for follow-up.

What is the Quality Assurance Blueprint used for?

The Quality Assurance (QA) Blueprint is a tool designed to help supervisors monitor and track the activities necessary to implement the PAT model with fidelity. The QA Blueprint covers a program year and is organized by how often the activities are to be completed (bi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual).

The QA Blueprint is located in the Supervisor’s Handbook in the portal login. Page two of the document describes its purpose and instructions for how to use it.

When should functional vision reviews be completed? Does the full review need to be completed before marking the child with a “complete screening”?

The parent educator must complete all aspects of the functional vision review with each child in order for a screening to be complete. Some aspects of the functional vision review can be completed by three months, but the part related to checking the eye alignment cannot be done until 4-6 months of age. If a program wants to do part of the functional vision review prior to 4 months, they may do so, but they must revise the eye alignment review at 4-6 months.

Why is my Penelope account locked?

There are several reasons you may be locked out of your account.

How do we know if the Family Centered Assessment our affiliate uses meets the Parents as Teachers (PAT) requirements?

PAT requires that affiliates complete a family-centered assessment on all families within 90 days of enrollment and then at least annually thereafter. The purpose of the family-centered assessment is to give the parent educator a strengths-based “picture” of the family and to help with goal setting. At minimum, the family-centered assessment should cover these areas: Parenting, Family Relationships, Parent Education/Vocation, Parent General Health, Access to Medical Care (including insurance coverage), Adequacy and Stability of Housing, and Adequacy and Stability of Income for Food, Clothing, etc. For a detailed look at selecting a family-centered assessment tool, please see the updated Technical Assistance Brief on the Affiliate Update page of the PAT website.

The Penelope Manual states that one criterion for a personal visit includes documenting the personal visit within two working days using the Parents as Teachers Personal Visit Record (PVR) found in Penelope.  Does this mean that Penelope will not give credit for a personal visit entered into the system after two days of the visit date?

We know that it is best practice to enter personal visit records within 48 hours of the home visit.  This practice meets a quality standard.  Personal visits will be counted in Penelope even if the PVR is not completed within 2 days, however.

Can an affiliate program offer Group Connections virtually – by video chat or other online means – and count it toward the required number of annual group connections?

Yes, a Virtual Group Connection may be counted toward the minimum annual group connections offered with the following caveats:

When should the first social-emotional screening be completed for babies enrolled at birth or enrolled prenatally?

The first ASQ:SE assessment is for 6 months of age, but it can be completed between 3-8 months of age.  The Parents as Teachers Milestones should be completed after every home visit following the birth of the child(ren).

When will my affiliate participate in the Quality Endorsement Process?

With the completion of the third and final year of field-testing, the official launch of the Quality Endorsement and Improvement Process will begin July 1, 2015.  The first cohort of affiliates for the Quality Endorsement and Improvement Process has already been identified and notified by the national Parents as Teachers office.

Subsequently, each January, the national Parents as Teachers office will identify and notify the upcoming cohort of affiliates for the Quality Endorsement and Improvement Process.  However, affiliates can also volunteer to be in a cohort by contacting Quality Coordinator and Specialist, Lindsay Fondow at the national center.

Can we still use the Born to Learn Curriculum handouts and videos when working with our families?

PAT’s stance on this is that it is no longer acceptable to use the Born to Learn Handouts or DVDs.  Because they are aligned with the old curriculum, all BTL materials are not to be used anymore.

Please discard the Born to Learn curricula – especially when full content of the Foundational 2 Curriculum: 3 Years through Kindergarten becomes available in English and Spanish in early 2015.  We encourage you to recycle the pages within the binders as well as any printouts you may have on file.

Parents as Teachers copyright affirms the binders and their contents should not be “passed along” or resold. As for your old binders, try reusing them or checking with your recycling service regarding disposal.

What meets the quality standard for supervisors observing group connections?

The quality standard regarding group connection observations states that a supervisor will observe at least one group connection quarterly, and review corresponding planning/delivery documentation and evaluations for each. If more than one parent educator leads group connections, the quarterly observations should include different parent educators.

Is there a PAT form to use when observing new parent educators completing screenings as required in the PAT Blueprint?

No, there is not a PAT form for screening observations. Since each program chooses which PAT approved screening instrument to use for screenings, programs can create their own form to document these observations. We recommend using the PAT Quality Standards on screening to develop your form and support your observations.

If I am using Visit Tracker to track all of my service delivery to a family, do I still need to complete the Parents as Teachers (PAT) Exit Record fillable form?

You can complete and print an exit record from Visit Tracker. When you mark a child exited, you will be taken to the exited children list (find the Exit List under the “non-actives” link on the children tab). There you will find an exit form with service delivery information and a place to record additional information requested on the exit record.

If a child is screened, referred to Early Intervention (EI) and then receives EI services, do programs need to continue to provide developmental screenings every six months for Prevention Initiative (PI) or every 12 months for Parents as Teachers (PAT)?

According to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), PI program staff still need to either implement the screening themselves or obtain the results from EI. Ideally, the PI and EI programs are working together on an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), including identifying who is completing screenings. Developmental monitoring services are part of the PI program.

According to PAT National, for particular areas of concern identified through screening, parent educators make and document specific recommendations for follow-up activities to support the child’s development and, if indicated, a referral for further assessment. Parent educators help parents address concerns and barriers in following through on further assessment as needed.

If the family decides not to follow through with further assessment or if it is determined that the child is not eligible for EI services, parent educators should continue to conduct developmental screenings according to the affiliate’s procedures.

If the child is determined to be eligible for services for an identified delay or diagnosed disability, the parent educator should continue to monitor developmental milestones using the PAT Milestones Form. In addition, the parent educator should remain informed about the EI services being provided. The parent educator rescreens any areas not being addressed through EI services annually or more often according to affiliate policy.

We have a family that transferred from another PAT program. Should we count them as a new enrollment and meet all of the 90-day requirements even if they were recently completed by their previous PAT program?

When a family transfers to a different PAT program, the new program can count the screening and assessments from the previous program as long as their new enrollment date falls within 90 days of when that screening occurred. On the first personal visit with the new program, the parent educator would document on the PVR and in Visit Tracker that the appropriate screening was completed. If the family-centered assessment or screening occurred outside of the 90-day window, the new program would need to complete them again.

Our PAT affiliate has a part-time .5 FTE PAT certified parent educator as our group coordinator. She is responsible for all of our group connections and does not provide home visits. Does she still need to have reflective supervision?

Yes, PAT National does not distinguish the supervision requirement between those doing only group connections and those doing personal visits in addition to the other components. Since she is .5 FTE, the PAT essential requirement stipulates that she have at least one hour of reflective supervision and two hours of staff meetings monthly.  If she works more than .5FTE then she would need two hours of reflective supervision and two hours of staff meetings monthly.

What is meant by “the affiliate measures outcomes for the families served” in Parents as Teachers quality standard #5 in Evaluation & CQI?

PAT National is looking for affiliates to have conducted an assessment on the goals of the PAT model to weigh the impact the PAT affiliate is having on those goals. One way to think of this is measuring change over time, for example, before beginning the program, only 10% of families had knowledge of how to assess for developmental delays of their child, and 65% of families had that knowledge after completing one year of the program.

PAT National is flexible as to what outcomes your program measures, but there are a few places to use as guides:

  1. Refer to the PAT Logic Model (in the Model Implementation Guide or online) that describes what the PAT model entails and what the expected outcomes are. The outcomes column outlines the expected results when implementing the model. You could use this, along with your program goals (which should map onto the logic model) to devise a plan for measuring whether your program is having the desired effect on one or more of those goals or expected outcomes.
  2. The PAT Parent Reflection Survey is a tool that is available on the PAT National Portal (in the fillable forms section) and can be used by programs to measure outcomes. This survey is called a retrospective pre-/post-survey because you ask parents at one point in time, after receiving services for a designated amount of time (to be determined by the individual program), their level of knowledge of a concept and their level of knowledge of that concept before beginning the program. Guidance to conducting this survey and analyzing its results is also available on the portal. If you have used this survey and assessed the results, that would apply to this standard.
  3. Life Skills Progression (LSP) can be used to measure outcomes as well. You could look at all of the LSP items, or select a few items that you would like to measure for impact over time. For example, if you have been emphasizing healthcare and the importance of a medical home or dental home, you could use the LSP items around child healthcare to assess families over time to see if your efforts have made an impact. You could complete the LSP every six months and look at the trends over time (do the scores go up or down? by how much?). Many of the LSP items can also be mapped onto the Logic Model, so if you are looking to assess a particular area on the logic model, you could look to the LSP for a way to measure that area.
  4. You could also use other outcomes measurement tools recommended by PAT National.

The Personal Visit Record (PVR) has been updated. How do I know if I am completing the PVR correctly?

Please review the new Guidance for Using the Personal Visit Record in the fillable forms section of the PAT online curriculum for detailed information about how to complete the PVR.  For example, the Family Well-Being section reads:

The Family Well-Being section reflects the many topics parent educators may discuss with families during a visit. It should be noted that while most of these topics are included in the Foundational Curriculum; some may be best supported by resources within the local community.

In order to most effectively track the type of information shared or connection made, parent educators should mark the category or categories that best include the types of resources or information discussed.

Parent educators then fill in the blanks, using the abbreviations “D” for discussion only, “I” for information shared with parents or “CR” for parents who were connected to a resource or referred for services.

“Connect” is defined as:

I would like to create policies and procedures for my Prevention Initiative (PI) Parents as Teachers program. What should I include?  

Please refer to Appendix E in the Prevention Initiative Implementation Manual for PI Policy & Procedures Manual Suggested Topics. Also, please refer to PAT Brief #7 Policies and Procedures for additional information.

What are the measurement criteria for meeting the reflective supervision essential requirement?

The measurement criteria are:

The requirement for individual reflective supervision requires dedicated time which is time that is protected and cannot be taken away from the supervisor or supervisee without mutual agreement. Reflective supervision is also scheduled on a regular, agreed upon basis and is held at that frequency, not on an as needed basis or drop-in or crisis-resolution basis.

Administrative and monitoring issues need to be covered along with the more reflective aspects of supervision. It is important to note as well that ongoing supervision takes into account observations of service delivery and feedback.

The following list outlines some key topics that should be addressed through ongoing supervision:

Supervisors need to maintain a record of supervision with each parent educator, as well as documentation of staff meetings. Such records should include dates, duration and key topics.

Staff meetings should also cover more than administrative issues and should provide opportunities to review the use of the curriculum, screening protocols, case discussion, peer support, core competencies and strategies to prevent burnout.

We have Prevention Initiative (PI) funding from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). There are PI requirements and forms that we need in addition to the Parents as Teachers essential requirements and forms.  Is there a resource available that will help me? 

ISBE recently released the Prevention Initiative Implementation Manual. Appendix C includes sample PI forms and Appendix D includes a Prevention Initiative RFP Compliance Checklist that you can use to ensure that your program is compliant with the terms of your grant. You can also contact the ISBE Early Childhood Division at 217.524.4835.

What is the PAT toolkit and how should it be used?

The 19 pocket-sized cards in the PAT toolkit that parent educators receive at PAT Foundational Training, equip parent educators with in-the-moment, evidenced-based process tips and information that can help organize discussions, strengthen the parent educator-family relationship, and facilitate the Parents as Teachers approach to working with families. In the partnering relationship where power is shared and each person’s perspective is valued, these tools provide the physical prompt for collaborative exchanges and shared exercises.

Who should I invite to be part of my PAT advisory committee? How should this be documented?

At a minimum, a PAT advisory committee includes program personnel, community service providers, families receiving services and community leaders. It is important to recognize that the PAT advisory committee is different from your organization’s governing board or board of trustees.

The PAT National Office recommends that you document your advisory board meetings with an agenda, minutes and a list of members attending to demonstrate that you are in compliance with the essential requirement.