Jasper County Parents as Teachers (PAT) is experiencing numerous changes in the near future. Below are some of the changes and why they are happening.
1. What is JCCPCA? JCCPCA (Jasper County Council for the Prevention of Child) has been around for more than 20 years and the main program is Parents as Teachers. The mission of the organization is dedication to the highest quality of child abuse prevention programs which foster family growth and development. Through the combined efforts of individuals and organizations, it seeks to provide a brilliant tomorrow through the empowerment of the family today. Parents as Teachers employees five part-time employees. Two of the employees, Jackie Sparks and Tari Brostrom, are retiring in 2018.
2. Why the change in Jasper County for JCCPCA, Parents as Teachers program? The JCCPCA Board of Directors voted to make this change due to the reality that a very small agency can no longer survive and the funding source, the JMP Board, felt it should be based under Jasper County Health Department which is the hub for public health services in Jasper County.
3. What if Jasper County Health Department did not take over Jasper County Parents as Teachers Program? There is a high chance that the program would no longer be in Jasper County and numerous high risk, needy children would no longer receive services. The Jasper County Board of Health reflected on the Community Health Needs Assessment noting that child abuse and neglect is one of the top issues in Jasper County. Jasper County residents have been extremely supportive of the prevention of child abuse programs over the years and numerous donations also have funded the program. A good portion of the families served are DHS cases and there would not be adequate resources to see the high-risk children in the county. When we think about the most vulnerable children in the community and high incidence of child abuse, we feel it is essential that Jasper County should continue the Parents as Teachers program because the need is evident.
4. How is PAT funded? Parents as Teachers is currently and will continue to be fully funded through the Greater Poweshiek Foundation though the Jasper, Marion, Poweshiek (JMP) Early Childhood Iowa Area fund. County tax dollars will not be used for this program. If funding goes away, we would look for other funding sources or reduce or eliminate services. With that being said, we feel the funding is secure and has been funding the program for many years. Research from the CDC indicates that the total lifetime economic burden of child abuse is $124 billion dollars. For every $1 spent on prevention, the savings is $5.60 according to the American Public Health Association. If we don't have the program in Jasper County the funds and program may be used by Marion or Poweshiek counties.
5. When will the transition take place? The planning is starting now, but will start February 2018. Everyone is hopeful that the transition is seamless for the needy families.
6. What positions will remain the same? There are currently three part time parent educator positions through JCCPCA. The Board of Health and the Board of Supervisors agreed to post the positions for the three educators starting in February 2018. Existing Jasper County Health Department staff will assume additional duties and Jasper County will be reimbursed through the JMP funds for their work. So in the end, less County tax dollars will be used.
For more information on Parents as Teachers or Child Abuse Prevention, visit
parentsasteachers.org, www.pcaiowa.org or jccpca.org.