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Philanthropy Corner: PAT receives W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant to expands virtual home visiting services

Virtual home visit

Parents as Teachers (PAT) has received a $100,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to help build the capacity of home visiting programs that deliver virtual services to children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are most thankful to the Kellogg Foundation for their financial backing around the work we are doing to support home visiting professionals in maintaining meaningful connections with families during this unprecedented health crisis,” said PAT President and CEO Constance Gully.

“Without virtual connections,” Gully said, “thousands of families would go completely unserved right now. Home visiting has been pivotal in connecting with and stabilizing the needs of families during their social isolation.”

W.K.K.F. logo

The grant from the Battle Creek, Michigan-based foundation will provide core support for the PAT-led Rapid Response Virtual Home Visiting Collaborative (RR-VHVC), a coalition of national organizations convened by PAT in March.

“We’re proud to support family-serving organizations like Parents as Teachers that are pivoting to respond to what children and families need today,” said Arianna Cisneros, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “During these difficult times, parents need tools, resources, and practices to address the impacts of trauma, isolation, and the compounding challenges to children’s health and well-being.”

During COVID-19, home visitors across the country have shifted to remote modes of delivery exclusively, using video conferencing technology and cell phones. Live, interactive services, and even telephone calls will enable clinicians and home visiting professionals to provide critical parenting, child development, and family-well-being support.

Gully said the WKKF grant will help the RR-VHVC build capacity and develop resources to integrate telehealth methods and processes into the home visiting practice. Under the grant guidelines, the RR-VHVC will develop weekly webinars, resource materials, surveys, and courses focused on systems and model support relevant to home visitors, supervisors, specialists, and support staff.

The RR-VHVC will also coordinate weekly and monthly meetings on content development and the integration of virtual home visiting on a long term basis.

“We are coalescing with leaders in the national home visiting field to provide immediate support for our front-line home visiting staff,” Gully said. “The Kellogg Foundation grant will help them maintain a high frequency of service to families who have tight schedules or who might be medically fragile, transient, or live in rural communities.

Mother and baby having a virtual home visit

“Our team of experts is refining the answers to questions about how home visitors can conduct a developmental screening virtually, or how-to guide a caregiver in parent-child-interaction on a virtual platform or by telephone, all driving toward the same goal of providing a high level of intervention to the families we serve,” said Gully.