Tips and Tools
Many of the families we serve are experiencing extra stress this winter. What are some way that the PAT model supports working with families experiencing mental health issues?
Parent educators may have a difficult time maintaining healthy boundaries when working with families under stress; we too, may be coping with stress and/or mental health issues that become acute during the winter months. It is a Parents as Teachers Quality Standard that affiliates maintain a written protocol covering parental mental health, and this may be a good time to revisit that protocol and consider your affiliate’s needs. The Parents as Teachers Foundational and Foundational 2 curricula have Parent Educator Resources (PERs) and Parent Handouts that can be used in your work.
The Foundational PER Stress and Resilience, as well as the Parent Handouts How Am I Feeling?, Coping with Stress, Relaxation Breathing and Other Ways to Release Stress, and When You’re Feeling Lonely, and the Foundational 2 resources Stress and Stress Management, Stress, and Coping with Stress and Preventing Burnout, as well as the curricula resources around grieving and loss can be especially helpful for parent educators and families. Additionally, parent educators should use reflective supervision time to discuss boundaries with families and their own stress as parent educators with their supervisor.
The Considering Ethical and Professional Behaviors booklet is another resource that parent educators and supervisors can consider in reflective supervision and when thinking about healthy boundary setting.
New and Updated Model Fidelity Tools in the Supervisors Handbook
The Quality Assurance Blueprint and the File Review Tool were both updated in May of 2017. The QA Blueprint is an ongoing tracking tool used to monitor and track the activities necessary to implement the Parents as Teachers model with fidelity over the course of a program year, from July 1 to June 30. The File Review Tool is used by supervisors/lead parent educators to conduct file reviews quarterly, meaning that at least one file from each parent educator is reviewed at least four times a year.
A new Example Policies and Procedures document was released in June 2017. This example is based on a fictional PAT affiliate and helps guide programs as they develop or refine their own policies and procedures manual.
The updated Quality Endorsement and Improvement Process Manual was released in July 2017. This will be a useful tool for programs who are part of the QEIP Cohort 3. Updates include clarifications made in the instructions and revising of questions asked in the self-study based on lessons learned this year from programs who were participating.
A new Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Guidance document and Plan-Do-Study-Act worksheet were released in July 2017. These documents will provide guidance in implementing CQI and use of the PDSA.
Updated Quality Assurance Guidelines
The 2017 version of the Parents as Teachers Quality Assurance (QA) Guidelines are now here! The annual update of the PAT QA Guidelines is designed to provide PAT affiliates with the most current guidance for high quality implementation of the PAT model. You can access a copy of the updated QA Guidelines and the “What’s Notable” summary outlining what has been added in the Supervisors Handbook in the portal.
Foundational Curricula Updates
Parents as Teachers recently updated the Personal Visit Record along with the Guidance for Using the Personal Visit Record. Both of these updated forms can be found in the fillable forms section of the online curriculum. These forms were updated to stay consistent with the online versions available through Penelope. Electronic data management is the preferred method for documenting services and tracking information. Penelope is the Parents as Teachers web-based recordkeeping and service delivery tracking system. Penelope is a benefit of affiliation for all Parents as Teachers affiliates. In addition to the updated PVR, sections of the Toolkit were updated to better support your work with families.
The card with the five Parenting Behaviors now has a red top. The eight Toolkit cards in the third section with teal tops are informational about the Developmental Topics within the Development-Centered Parenting area of emphasis. They were recently revised to contain key points of knowledge that all families should be exposed to during the course of a year. The messaging around them is individualized for each family by the parent educator. The two Family Well-Being cards with green tops are informational and have also been revised to share key points of knowledge with families. Parent educators will individualize the messaging around them as they reflect on the child’s development and the family’s needs and goals.
Gateways Registry Professional Development Record
Home visitors, including Parents as Teachers parent educators need to register on the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Gateways to Opportunities professional development registry. To get registered go to Gateways. The Gateways Registry Professional Development Record (PDR) is a benefit available to all Registry Members. It can be accessed by logging in to the Registry Member’s section of the website and going to the Registry Center.
Supervisors can check Parent Educator Certification Status
If you are a supervisor with administrative access to your Affiliate in the PAT Portal you can check the status of certification for all of your staff. The affiliate administrator can log into the portal with their own account information; select My Tools >Affiliate Administrator >Employees. Here you will see a chart reflecting information on your program employee’s name, member type, dues paid thru, email and job title. (This is also where you can remove employees who are no longer employed by your affiliate.)
Three new reports are now available for Penelope users:
- Family Demographic Summary lists characteristics of families served during the reporting period. A summary table at the end calculates totals and averages across families.
- Summary Statistics provides information on families served and services provided during the reporting period.
- Service Alerts identifies essential requirements that may warrant follow-up
The first two include the option to download detailed data in a CSV file that can be opened in Excel or other spreadsheet programs. This can be a great way to look for missing or incorrect information, or further manipulate the data. The Family Demographics report now includes family addresses that could be used to create mailing labels.
Tips for Helping Families during Trauma Available Online
You have extra responsibilities when visiting parents where trauma has occurred in the family, community or nation. You may find yourself being asked questions or presented with new situations that are challenging to handle or far outside the scope of a regular personal visit. Here are some general tips to help you better support your families and guide them during troubling times, along with suggestions for relevant activities in the PAT curricula you can use to help families.
Here are some general guidelines for parent educators to support the work you do with families during times of trauma. These tips will help you tailor your personal home visits and also help you cope with your own feelings about the situation.
Children feel safe and secure when they know what to expect. When working with families during stressful times, it’s important to remind parents that keeping family routines as consistent as possible is key.
As a parent educator, you also have online access to all the relevant resources already included in the Foundational Curriculum that focus on:
- Social-emotional development
- Parent or child stress
- Media exposure
- Aggressive play
- Modeling behaviors
- Transitions and routines
Here is a handout designed for families. It also includes links to a few helpful websites to help children cope with traumatic situations.
PAT Affiliate Certificate
Would you like a printable certificate reflecting your PAT affiliate status? Affiliates in good standing can access this certificate by logging into the eBusiness portal and going to My Tools > Affiliate Administrator > Print Affiliate Certificates.
Affiliate Administrator Access to PAT Fillable Forms
Affiliate administrators now have access to PAT fillable forms outside of the online curriculum by logging into the eBusiness portal and going to My Tools > Affiliate Administrator > Fillable Forms.
Parent Pages can be shared with families as a supplement to the Foundational Curriculum. They are also great to use during Group Connections. There are a wide variety of topics addressed in both English and Spanish. To access them, log into the eBusiness portal and go to My Tools > Online Curriculum > Parent Pages.
Parents as Teachers Blueprint
If you have more than five parent educators, there are a couple options for using the Parents as Teachers (PAT) Blueprint.
The Excel version of the Blueprint is easier to adapt (add cells, columns, etc.) as needed. If you use the fillable forms version, it is recommended that you download two or more copies of the blueprint in order to accommodate the number of parent educators working in the program.