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October 19, 2020

Home Visiting Program Earns Prestigious International Recognition

Gabriel Moreno - Email

(SALT LAKE COUNTY)—The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) is pleased to announce that its Parents as Teachers (PAT) program has earned the distinguished Blue Ribbon Affiliate honor, the highest possible quality endorsement from the Parents as Teachers National Center—an international nonprofit that helps communities promote optimal early development, learning and the health of young children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.

The endorsement requires meeting 20 essential requirements and 100 quality standards demonstrating the highest level of model fidelity to the evidenced-based PAT program. “Our local team significantly exceeded the threshold for certification,” said Jona Nusink Curry, family health bureau manager for SLCoHD. “This is the product of an eighteen-month process with six months of intensive work while continuing to provide excellent service to our clients.”

Since its establishment in 2015, the SLCoHD PAT program has provided services to over 500 families in Salt Lake County. Clients participating in the program receive individualized home visits from highly skilled parent educators to enhance their child’s development, literacy and school readiness. In addition, parent educators provide families with tangible supports to help navigate complicated societal systems and links to necessary community resources. The program was quick to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, switching from in-person to virtual visits to avoid service gaps, protect client health and continue to enroll new families.

“In short, the Salt Lake County Health Department Parents as Teachers team delivers high quality service to our families, and they turn research into outcomes,” continued Curry.

A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. PAT provides parents with information to help build their children’s intellectual, language, social and physical development from birth to age three. There is no cost to enrolled families.

Families enrolled in PAT receive personal visits that are currently held virtually or outside at a safe social distance with masks from a certified parent educator offering timely, age-appropriate information, including:

  • What to expect as the child grows and develops, starting in pregnancy
  • How to help the child to learn and play well with other kids
  • Help with common parenting problems
  • Fun activities to help the child prepare for school

Parents will also make connections with other parents for peer support and have access to helpful community resources.