Parent involvement key strategy for PICA Head Start success

stockvault-dollar-sign115174Last week the National Head Start Association (NHSA), in partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, released “Two Generations Together,” a case study report highlighting the exceptional efforts of Head Start programs in designing effective two-generation solutions aimed at enabling families to achieve their own goals for education, employment, stability, and success.

The report features Parents in Community Action, Inc. (PICA), an innovative program that has served Hennepin County’s diverse community and refugee resettlement area for nearly fifty years. PICA is a parent-led organization that provides comprehensive early learning and family development services that build early foundations for children and put families on the path to self-sufficiency. With over one hundred active community partnerships with organizations including schools, employers, and health providers, PICA has an extensive network that provides many avenues for parents to achieve financial stability for their families.

The case study emphasizes the success of PICA’s in-house Parent Training Programs, which provides parents with the skills needed to be successful in both the home and work environment. From GED, ESL, and citizenship classes, to workshops that focus on parenting and family finances, PICA’s wrap-around approach ensures families are given all the tools they need to succeed. PICA offers training programs in a variety of areas based on local employment needs and parent interest, such as preschool and infant/toddler child development, transportation, food service and clerical work.

PICA’s Parent Training Programs, as well as the other Head Start programs featured in the report, represent the many ways successful two-generation efforts can be designed, funded and evaluated. The report examines common mechanisms for funding, partnerships and research in an effort to disseminate strategies that will help other Head Start and early learning programs develop or enhance two-generation work of their own.

“Parent involvement is the most important part of PICA’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs,” said PICA Executive Director Alyce M. Dillon. “Working with local partners and resources we serve nearly 2,500 children and families in Hennepin County and we strive to ensure that every one of them is given the tools they need to succeed, in school and in life.”

February 4, 2015
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