SOURCE: National Center for Parents as Teachers

National Center for Parents as Teachers

January 27, 2010 17:56 ET

Missouri Children Will Feel Impact From Gov. Nixon's $4.1 Million Cut for Parents as Teachers Programs

National Center for Parents as Teachers Disappointed in Governor's Decision

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - January 27, 2010) - Twenty-five years ago, Missouri pioneered the concept of helping parents embrace their role as their child's first and most important teacher. Today, the National Center for Parents as Teachers is home to the nation's largest evidence-based, parent education program; however, for the second year in a row, state funding for the program has been cut -- this time by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

Gov. Nixon's plan to cut another $4.1 million in state funding for Parents as Teachers (PAT) comes on the heels of last year's 10 percent reduction (approximately $3.4 million). The governor announced his plan as part of the State of the State address on Jan. 20.

"We are extremely disappointed in Gov. Nixon's decision to present another round of cuts for Parents as Teachers," said Sue Stepleton, CEO of Parents as Teachers National Center, the resource base and backbone of Parents as Teachers programs worldwide. "As we seek ways to invest wisely and strengthen Missouri, legislators have an opportunity to help achieve long-term results in education. Parents as Teachers is one of the few initiatives that produces such a significant return on investment. Because we serve families at such a critical juncture, consistent and frequent support is key to helping develop a strong foundation for children, especially those from the most vulnerable families. These cuts undermine the dramatic impact that Parents as Teachers has made on more than 1 million Missouri children."

The proposed cuts will result in:

--  a reduction in the number of children served through PAT programs;
--  a decrease in number of home visits, essential for success through
    the program; and
--  a cutback in the number of early intervention screenings, a vital
    resource used to identify health and developmental problems in children.

"Our state cannot afford to reduce the investment in children during the crucial early years of their life," Stepleton added. "According to research published in 2008, Parents as Teachers in combination with preschool narrows the 'achievement gap' at kindergarten entry and again at third grade. This has strong implications for graduation rates and ultimately, a prepared workforce."

More than 156,000 Missouri children, including the state's most vulnerable, are currently served by Parents as Teachers programs with access to personal visits, developmental screenings, referral services and other parent education services that help prepare Missouri children for school and encourage parents in their role as their child's first and best teacher.

The numbers speak for themselves:

--  Parents as Teachers programs support Missouri children's health by
    screening them for health and developmental concerns.  Last year, 93,000
    Missouri children received screenings through Parents as Teachers. Of the
    14,584 identified with possible delays and referred for follow-up services,
    50 percent did so. Further, 84 percent of Missouri 2-year-olds in Parents
    as Teachers were current on immunizations.
--  Some 85 percent of the families served in Missouri are from rural or
    small towns where resources are not readily available.

About the National Center for Parents as Teachers

Based in St. Louis, the National Center for Parents as Teachers is the resource base and backbone of the largest parent education program in the nation. The nonprofit National Center oversees more than 3,000 Parents as Teachers programs nationwide as well as in Australia, Belize, Canada, China, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. For more information about Parents as Teachers, visit

Editor's Note: Stepleton, as well as Missouri Parents as Teachers leaders, are available to speak to these funding cuts and the services provided by Parents as Teachers. Please call Pat Simpson at (314) 432-4330, ext. 283 to coordinate.

Contact Information

    Pat Simpson
    Parents as Teachers
    (314) 432-4330, ext. 283
    Email Contact