Parents as Teachers

FAMILY HEALTH SERVICES MESSAGE:

Due to COVID-19 the following precautionary measures are being taken to prevent unnecessary exposure for staff and families we serve:

  • WIC:  All WIC offices are closing to the public. If you currently have an appointment scheduled, the WIC clinic staff will be contacting you to complete it over the phone. You will continue to receive and be able to use your benefits as long as your certification is active. Contact your local WIC clinic for remote service, or call the State Office at 1-800-433-4298 for assistance. The State Office will also be available by email at montanawicprogram@mt.gov.
  • Home Visiting (Parents as Teachers, First Year Initiative, SafeCare, Montana Asthma Program): Home visiting staff will be doing all home visits by phone or video conferencing depending on the guidance of each program. Home visitors will contact current and newly referred clients individually to schedule remote appointment times. It is our goal to continue to provide as many of our families as possible with the resources they need, so please call us at 406-454-6950 with questions or concerns.
  • Car Seat Program: We will not provide car seats or car seat checkups until further notice. 
  • Parenting Classes: All parenting classes have been temporarily cancelled. Current participants will be notified once classes resume. 
  • CONNECT Referral System: Onboarding will continue; however, in-person training and meetings are cancelled. Trainings will take place remotely.
  • Foster Child Health Program: Nurses will not provide in-person visits to foster parents, but will remain in contact as necessary.

Please call us at 406-454-6950 with questions or concerns.

Parents as Teachers is a FREE program that offers parents:

  • Research based information on how children grow and develop
  • Types of activities and toys that will foster learning and nurture development
  • Methods of positive discipline, new techniques for problem solving, setting realistic expectations of child behavior, and helping to raise children’s self-esteem

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Eligibility

Most families with young children—prenatal up to age five—can enroll, although we prefer to enroll children under the age of 3 so that they get the maximum benefit from the program. Any parent who feels their child is not developing at a proper rate is eligible for PAT, no matter their income level. However, priority is given to:

  • pregnant women who have not attained age 21
  • users of tobacco products in the home
  • child with developmental delays or disabilities
  • families that include current or former members of the armed forces
  • low income
  • low student achievement
  • history of substance abuse or need substance abuse treatment
  • history of child abuse or neglect or interactions with child welfare services

Personal Home Visits

Home visits usually take place every other week, but can be more frequent at parents’ request. Each home visit consists of activities that focus on three areas:

  • Family’s well-being
  • Parent-child interactions
  • Child’s physical, mental, and neurological development

All activities and learning topics are customized based on your child’s age and stage of development. We understand that not all children develop at the same rate, even in the same family!

Visits last about an hour, and times are flexible so that all families can participate.

Group Connections

Group connection events are designed to foster parent-child interaction, so that parents can learn by observing their own child with other children. Events are typically held at various locations with the opportunity for children to participate in a theme-based activity. These group meetings allow parents to share ideas, express concerns, and obtain additional parenting information.  

Group connections are held on the last Thursday of each month; a free meal is provided. Call 406-791-9296 for more information.

Screenings

Parent educators provide screenings that monitor and record your child’s milestones. Screenings include language, cognitive, motor, personal/social, and emotional development—as well as vision, hearing, and general health markers.

Screenings serve two purposes: to reassure parents when the child’s development is on target, and to assist parents by identifying any potential problems.

Community Resource Network

During home visits and group connections, PAT educators also help families connect with community resources as needed. Educators can find resources to help with nutrition education, housing, food, clothing, breastfeeding support, and more! They’ll follow up, too, to make sure parents got what they needed and to address any barriers that may have occurred.

To enroll in Parents as Teachers at Cascade City-County Health Department, call a parent educator at 406-791-7296.