SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The national Parents as Teachers (PAT) organization praised Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement (SAFE) in a recent congratulatory letter for the work being done here in the Sylacauga area.

SAFE is a community-based, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to provide meaningful opportunities for families while serving others and contributing to community growth and cohesion.

Margaret Morton, SAFE Executive Director, stressed that programs offered by SAFE are not cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all designs. “We meet people where they are,” Morton said.

The local PAT program at SAFE has attained the highest level of standard attainment by the national PAT program. National PAT congratulated SAFE for demonstrating “fidelity to all 17 Essential Requirements of the Parents as Teachers model.”

What is the Parents As Teachers program?

The mission of PAT is to help children develop, learn and grow to realize their full potential. To accomplish this goal, PAT supports and engages parents and caregivers to promote the optimal early development, learning, and health of children.

Through PAT, a parent educator makes home visits twice monthly and provides information that supports and encourages parents to help their children develop during the crucial early years of life.

According to SAFE’s PAT Program Director Leigh Hall, each PAT home visit focuses on three main things: parent/child interaction, child development, and family well-being.

“The program is very individualized for each family,” Hall said.

SAFE has five parent educators in three counties. These parent educators customize goals for each family using the PAT curriculum in each home visit, curriculum SAFE has used for twelve years.

Prenatal support, links to community resources, guidance to set and achieve personal and family goals, parenting and family enrichment activities, and interactive group meetings are some of the services provided by SAFE’s PAT program.

Who is eligible to participate?

SAFE’s PAT program currently serves sixty-three families in Talladega, Clay and Coosa counties, providing support for families with children prenatal through kindergarten.

“We are in partnership with those families,” said Hall.

There is no cost to families, but the participating family must meet certain eligibility criteria.

Eligible families include but are not limited to families with three or more children, low income, expectant mothers under age 21, a history of child abuse or substance use, and children with developmental delays.

Participants can enroll in SAFE’s PAT program from the time of early pregnancy until the child turns four, and the program lasts at least two years.

For more information on the PAT program in Talladega, Clay and Coosa counties, contact the SAFE office at 256-245-4343.

Rhonda Shierling for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.