ParentChild+ (formerly Parent-Child Home Program) is a unique evidence-based, early literacy, parenting, and school readiness model that works with under-resourced families when their children are between 16 and 48 months old. PCHP families are challenged by the most significant obstacles to school success: poverty, language and cultural barriers, limited parental education levels, homelessness, isolation, and low literacy levels.

Well-trained and supervised Early Learning Specialists (ELS) provide two cycles of intensive home visiting to enable families to prepare their children for academic success by building learning and literacy-rich home environments. The Program achieves this by: 1) identifying families and communities that will benefit from the Program; 2) visiting families twice a week over a two-year period; 3) supporting families through these visits in building positive parent-child interactions and embracing language, literacy and reading in their home environments; and 4) connecting families to other social and educational services.

Each week, the community-based Early Learning Specialists bring a gift of a book or educational toy; these are often the first books or learning materials in the home. Using these curricular materials, the ELS models reading, conversation, and play activities designed to stimulate parent-child interaction, develop language and literacy skills, and build school readiness. The Program is unique both in the intensity of the services provided and the specific focus on “modeling” behaviors for parents and children together. The Program works with families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, living in diverse communities and neighborhoods, including families living in shelters.

Published research has consistently shown that Program graduates:

  • Outperform the statewide average on third grade state math achievement test
  • Score 2 ½ times higher on social-emotional skills assessment than the control group
  • See a 30% higher graduation rate than their socioeconomic peers
  • Enter school performing 10 months above their chronological age
  • Are 50% more likely to be referred to special education services by third grade

Since 2000, following the publication of a longitudinal study that followed a five-year cohort of children through high school and demonstrated that children who had completed PCHP went on to graduate from high school at the rate of middle class students, a 30% higher graduation rate than the control group, the Massachusetts state budget has provided public funding for PCHP.

The Hestia Fund will help to support expansion in Boston. The Boston Parent-Child Home Program site is ideally suited to reach underserved families in the city because of its multilingual capacity and its hiring of local paraprofessionals. PCHP graduates enter school ready to be in the classroom, go on to be successful as they move through school, and graduate from high school at the same rate as middle-class students.

This is Hestia's sixth year funding ParentChild+ (formerly Parent-Child Home Program). Hestia's grant of $27,500 will support the Bridging the Preparation and Achievement Gap for Boston Families in Need Program.