AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP)
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.
Offering a culturally-relevant early childhood intervention: The AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP) is a two-generation early childhood program for Latino children ages zero to three years and their families. It aims to increase parenting knowledge and improve kindergarten readiness.
Flexible in implementation: PCEP is offered through AVANCE chapters and other organizations that have licensed the program. It can be effectively delivered by a range of organizations, including community centers, public school districts, community college, early childhood education centers, and more.
Giving parents tools to support child development: As part of PCEP, parents participate in one three-hour parent education session each week over a nine-month period. During these sessions, parents learn how to support their child’s brain and language development, make educational toys from household items, connect with community resources (e.g., job training), and more.
Preparing children for kindergarten: While parents are attending PCEP sessions, their children participate in an early childhood education program designed to promote school readiness. The classes are modeled after a kindergarten schedule and routine and taught by certified early childhood educators.
Bringing lessons into the home: Once per month, PCEP staff conduct a home visit with each participating family. This serves as an opportunity for staff to observe parent-child interaction, provide guided instruction, and reinforce learning from the classroom sessions.
Connecting families to support services: PCEP also provides parents and children with a range of support services. These include transportation assistance to attend weekly sessions, nutritious meals at each session, and adult literacy classes for parents interested in pursuing further education.
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Multiple studies with rigorous designs provide some evidence for PCEP as a strategy for increasing parenting knowledge and improving school readiness.
A 2019 research synthesis identified PCEP as an evidence-based home visiting strategy for improving child wellbeing.
A 2019 quasi-experimental study found that children who participated in PCEP were more likely to attend pre-kindergarten, more likely to be school-ready when they entered kindergarten, and missed fewer days of kindergarten than children in the comparison group.
Best practices in implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Conduct pre-implementation assessment: Organizations interested in implementing PCEP can conduct a pre-implementation assessment to measure organizational readiness. Developed using AVANCE’s experience implementing PCEP in new communities, the assessment helps organizations evaluate their capacity in key areas like, like strength of community partnerships, data collection and management, and more.
- Create a community advisory board: New PCEP programs should create a community advisory board comprised of representatives from relevant education, child welfare, and social service organizations. These connections can help PCEP programs identify community resources to benefit program participants.
- Hire staff able to build relationships with participants: As PCEP directly addresses sensitive topics (e.g., raising a child), program staff are most effective when they can build trust with participants. Programs should give special consideration to hiring individuals who are bilingual (in English and the language used by participants at home), have experience working in a family support services environment, and are themselves graduates of the PCEP program.
- Collect and analyze program data: Evaluation is built into the PCEP model, allowing programs to demonstrate their effectiveness and engage in continuous improvement. Key evaluation tools include an intake process, a pre-participation parent questionnaire, a post-participation parent questionnaire, the home visit observation, and an exit interview.