By Sherry Fair
It has been a wonderful year for the children and families served by Parent Promise and those that will be served in the future due to the generosity of our own wonderful family of supporters. We had much to celebrate in 2018, and it will all come to fruition in the coming years.
First and foremost, Parent Promise celebrated 30 years of bringing free and voluntary in-home parent education and support to Oklahoma families in an effort to prevent child abuse and neglect. Since 1988, we have served more than 6,500 families. Since 2010, we have had a 95 percent success rate of keeping children and families out of the DHS system. Our home visiting models also help parents understand how to prepare their children to enter school on grade level so they have every chance in life to succeed.
We all talk about the Oklahoma Standard, and we had several angels step up to meet that standard when Parent Promise needed them most. During the latter part of 2017, the McLaughlin Family Foundation stepped up to fill the void left when our state supported contract was cancelled. This allowed us to continue services to families without interruption. That contract has since been restored, thanks to Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates.
Numerous private foundations, individuals and our three local Exchange Clubs helped us to begin offering home visiting services through three different evidence-based models — Parents As Teachers, Healthy Families America and Exchange Parent Aide. We no longer have to accept families on a one-size-fits-all philosophy. We can now assess each family’s situation and enroll them in the program that best serves them in raising healthy children. We also can now serve families with children up to age 12.
The Board of Directors and staff are very proud of two important factors that have helped Parent Promise grow and strengthen. First, we successfully forged a financial path to being more diversified than we were three years ago. Diversified revenue equals stronger financial health. Second, we enjoy low staff turnover, and we are thrilled that our veteran staff members have stepped up to take leadership roles as agency programming has expanded.
Our 2018 fiscal year brought challenges; but, more importantly, it brought opportunities. Together the Board, the staff and our wonderful family of supporters embraced those opportunities, and we are stronger and better positioned to expand services.
At Parent Promise, we believe every child has a fundamental right to grow, play and learn in a safe and secure environment. We believe investing in helping children grow into healthy adults is an investment in a brighter future for Oklahoma. Thank you for your past support and your continued support.