Frank Ordway (DEL Assistant Director) and I met with a great group of home visitors last week at the Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC) in Seattle. We are the tall guys at the back of the group. They run a program jointly funded by DEL and King County United Way called “Parent-Child Home Program” (PCHP.)
PCHP provides twice-weekly home visits for low-income families with kids 16 months to 3-years of age. They focus on early literacy skills, learning through play, and strengthening the parent-child relationship. At each visit they leave a book or a toy for the family to explore. The ladies in the photo are mostly graduates of the program, and all spoke enthusiastically about the impact it had on them – connecting them to other resources and helping them see what their kids needed to thrive.
Every single program you ever visit has enthusiastic workers. PCHP also has a ton of evidence that it works, based on years of randomized control trials with a variety of different populations.
The United Way of King County did the initial implementation of this, funding thousands of slots for families. As is the way of the world with expensive programs, charity can prove that the program works, that it can be implemented here, and that we get the same results as the national model. At some point (and that point is now) the program either has to become taxpayer-supported or it fades away. King County is picking up PCHP as part of the “Best Starts for Kids” levy, or at least I think that’s the plan right now.
PCHP in King County (and everywhere else for that matter) isn’t just visiting Chinese and Vietnamese families – we have programs working in many communities.
These visits are great. I find out all kinds of interesting things. It turns out to be expensive to get kids books in Asian languages. This may be a place DEL can help – buying in quantity should help all the groups doing similar work.