Detroit Auto Dealers grant enhances Oakland Family Services' Parents As Teacher program

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Oakland Family Services will expand a program that helps children who are at risk for school failure and/or abuse and neglect thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association Charitable Foundation Fund.

The funding will benefit Parents As Teachers (PAT), a program that provides the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.

The one-year grant, along with funding from another source, will pay for hiring a parent educator, who will make home visits and involve families in activities that encourage growth in language, social and emotional development. The parent educator also will conduct child development screenings and playgroups. Oakland Family Services currently has five parent educators.

Oakland Family Services provides PAT to families with children from birth to 6 years old that have some risk factors.

“We see families that have stress indicators, such as domestic violence, parental developmental delays, low income, teen parents, parents who are ambivalent about discipline and parenting, incarcerated parents, drug abuse, and children with behavioral concerns,” said Teri Dorta, Early Childhood Services manager at Oakland Family Services.

The hope is that families will demonstrate improved family functioning and parenting skills, and children identified with developmental delays will improve and maximize their development. Addressing delays, educating parents and strengthening families is proven to result in greater school and life success for children.

Patricia and Eleanor have made a lot of progress after beginning PAT. When they started the program, they were constantly battling over control, which meant a lot of screaming, crying and stress for the single mom and her 3-year-old child. Just simple tasks like getting dressed in the morning could turn into a screaming match between the two.

“I’m much more patient now,” Patricia said. “I know I have to give up some control to her and allow her to make decisions she needs to make. My parent educator helped me figure out what I needed to do to help Eleanor, yet still have some control. She helped me relax.”

Learn more about Parents As Teachers.