Child-Parent Centers

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
  • This strategy can help address educational disparities and promote healthy childhood environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Provides both preschool and comprehensive support to low-income children and families
  • Features small class sizes, free breakfast and lunch, and health screenings
  • Classes are held in the elementary school building that students will eventually attend
  • Parents are required to participate in school-based activities at least a half a day per week
  • Staff conducts home visits and helps families connect to social services

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)

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Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps; the second-highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice


Target population

Preschool-aged children

Program cost

$5,600 per child per year

Implementation locations

  • Several sites in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota

Dates active

1967–present

Outcomes and impact

  • Improves cognitive skills, socioemotional development, reading, and math skills
  • Reduces grade retention and special education usage
  • Improves likelihood of postsecondary degree attainment
  • Yields $10.83 in societal benefits per dollar spent

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This section is under review
  • Build close, high-engagement relationships with parents by including parents as teaching aides, chaperones, and in extra curricular activities. Parents must commit 2.5 hours of weekly involvement.
  • Make adult education available to teach remedial academic skills and parenting techniques.
  • Hold Pre-K in the same school building as K-3 to give children a smooth transition between grades
  • Carry out programming through a collaborative team consisting of three vital leadership roles: A Head Teacher, who managers the curriculum and teaching; a Parent Resource Teacher who coordinates with parents and oversees all parent education; and a School Community Representative responsible for recruitment, enrollment, and attendance

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