Parents as Teachers Funding in Decline

In recent updates we have discussed the importance of early intervention services for young children, including how the First Steps program can help some children with developmental delays catch up with their peers by the time they enter kindergarten. Another program that provides early childhood learning activities is the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program.

PAT has a more general purpose of helping parents become better teachers of their children and the program is not limited to children with disabilities. However, PAT includes screenings that can often identify children who have a disability and require the more intensive intervention offered through First Steps. In this way, First Steps and PAT try to work together to help children get a good start in life.

Funding for PAT has declined in recent years. In fiscal year 2006 the Missouri General Assembly appropriated $31.3 million for PAT and this provided services to 153,612 families. However, for fiscal year 2014 funding was down to $16 million and only 50,068 families were served.

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