Civic Institute to do evaluations for Parent-Child Home Program

After assisting with the grant proposal for a new Erie School District Family Center program, the Mercyhurst College Civic Institute will handle evaluations that are required by the Pennsylvania State Department of Welfare grant.

The welfare department has awarded a four-year grant totaling $480,000 to the Erie School District’s Erie Family Center for a program geared toward strengthening parenting skills and improving literacy in children 2 to 5 years old.

The Parent-Child Home Program supports trained parents, particularly those who have been clients of the family center and have been on public assistance, as mentors to other parents who need to improve parenting skills. The trained mentors will visit the parents and children in their homes and provide tips for parenting while helping those parents heighten the skills of the children with free developmental toys and books and instructions on how to increase literacy in the home.

With the help of state funding, this program will work with about 100 families over the course of four years after starting 25 families in the first year. The program should be up and operational by spring 2002.

The Mercyhurst Civic Institute will provide the program with evaluations that will include analyzing information on age, race, gender, parent education level, development of the children and parent-child interaction. Other outcomes such as parent isolation, changes in the home environment and impact on other siblings may also be part of the Civic Institute evaluation. The institute will utilize about $40,000 of the grant funding to handle evaluations. The evaluations will begin as the family joins the program and they will continue through the life of the family’s involvement.

The Erie Family Center is a cooperative effort between the state departments of education, health and public welfare and the Erie School District. Its goals are to provide a process and a place to help children and their families become healthy, well educated and economically independent. (See Web site: for more information.)

Partners in the Parent-Child Home Program and the Erie Family Center are the Union City Family Support Center, Erie Homes for Children and Adults, Intermediate Unit V, Greater Erie Community Action Committee and the Mercyhurst Civic Institute. 

For more information about the program and the role of the Civic Institute, contact Amy Danzer, 824-2585, or the Erie School District’s Family Center.

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