Parents As Teachers More Selective Due to Budget Cuts

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COLUMBIA -This week Columbia's Parents As Teachers (PAT) program sent out letters to families who applied for the program but will be put on the waiting list.

The nearly 30-year-old program provides families with children five years old and younger with resources and home visits to measure the child's development and make sure they're on track before kindergarten. PAT started in Missouri and has since spread to all 50 states. But in 2010, Missouri cut funding to its program by 60 percent. As a result, the PAT program here in Columbia had to cut half of its staff and half of the families it accepts.

In the 2010-2011 school year, PAT served almost three thousand children in Columbia and enrolled more than two hundred new families that year. Currently in 2013, there's about 1,300 families in the program. Some Missouri districts cut the program all together but Columbia is making adjustments to keep the program alive.

One of the key components of the program is at-home visits and evaluations. The letter explains the family won't be receiving at-home visits, but Columbia has created other resources the families can access instead.

Families who are on the waiting list can access the PAT library and its resources and can receive free annual screenings.

To find out more about the program click here.