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State funding shifts could mean changes to Parents as Teachers - KOAM TV 7

State funding shifts could mean changes to Parents as Teachers

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

Parents as Teachers is a long-standing tradition in many southeast Kansas schools, but changes to how the program is funded by the state could mean a shift in its availability to area families.

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is funded by local school districts matching dollars from a state BOE grant. Items passed in the marathon legislation session last month indicates a change in the funding model, by taking away the state BOE grant and having school districts put in money to access the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal-assistance program.

"Those lines are still pretty blurry, we're not sure what qualifying will mean," Dacia White, a local parent-educator said.

Formerly, any parent of a child qualified for the program, but now, a level of "need" will be established through a list of parameters, including low-income families, children of deployed military, teen mothers, those with developmental delays and so on. While helpful to families deemed "in need", it will hurt the families without those qualifications that currently benefit from PAT.

"Every child deserves to have the potential to have the best parents they can have. So that's kind of our job, to support parents and how they parent their kids. We're kind of that instruction and direction on how to raise your children so we're not just looking at developmental, but we're looking at potty-training, and nutrition and safety issues. Things like that," White said.

Local parent Carrie Lance has two children that receive help from White, but now Lance's family does not meet the deemed need.

"The kids just love whenever we say Dacia is coming over, they enjoy playing the games she introduces to them and just that interaction with an outside adult that they know they can depend on," Lance said, "it's really sad to our education program that we're going to be missing out on preparing our kids for their future education. I feel like it's really going to impact our pre-schools and even our Kindergarten teachers, when we've already got our work cut out for us anyways."

PAT will meet statewide on July 26 to talk about how operations will change according to the new guidelines.

For the legislative language behind the change, visit: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/62a80a0b71a54f5f1d8dd9cdd/files/2017_PAT_CIF_TANF_wording_in_budget_passed_5_1_2016.pdf

For more on Kansas PAT: http://www.kpata.org/

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