Helping children and families in King County prepare for kindergarten—and long-term learning success.
Support this program
Nearly two out of three low-income kids in King County are behind their peers when they start kindergarten.
The years before kindergarten are an incredibly crucial period of learning, yet nearly two out of three low-income kids in King County are behind their peers when they start kindergarten. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified this inequity, and the preparation gap can have enormous impacts on long-term learning.
The ParentChild+ program closes the kindergarten preparation gap by supporting parents during the crucial early years of their kids’ development. Families have twice-weekly visits with trained coaches, known as home visitors, of the same language and cultural background. ParentChild+ graduates have 30% higher high school graduation rates than their peers.
How It Works
When parents become their children’s first and best teachers, kids start school on a path to success.
Here’s how the ParentChild+ program works:
1. Families with 2- and 3-year olds are matched with trained coaches, known as home visitors, of the same language and cultural background.
2. Home visitors meet with families two times a week. During the pandemic, this shifted to virtual visits.
3. Home visitors bring a book or toy each week, model positive interaction, and teach parents how to work with and advocate for their children.
4. Children leave the ParentChild+ two year program more prepared for kindergarten.
A New Approach to Funding Programs
Communities know best what issues they face and how to address them. When we partner with, and cede power to, the communities we aim to serve, we’re finding success in combating barriers. The community-based funding approach is both innovative and proven—and creates new approaches by addressing historic inequities. This is how the new model works:
United Way of King County raises funds through individual donors, corporate sponsors, government agencies, grants, and other contributors.
We partner, work with, and cede power to communities to explore new, equitable ways of funding programs and supporting them.
Participatory grantmaking lets the community decide how to allocate and distribute funds to address challenges they’re facing.
Changing Power Dynamics
Changing Power Dynamics
The approach is an intentional way of combating potential colonialist, white supremacy-rooted elements of philanthropy and changing power dynamics between the organizations who distribute funds and those who receive them.
Through ParentChild+, low-income immigrant/refugee moms and dads get parenting support from a coach who speaks their language and knows their culture.
In 2019, seven ParentChild+ partner providers came together to form the Emerging Alliance of Communities of Color (EACC)—a group of providers serving primarily Black, immigrant, refugee and Muslim families. When the EACC received funding, they decided how to allocate and distribute funds for their early education work.
We’re excited about these initial efforts and are committed to continue to explore new, equitable ways of funding programs and supporting community partners.
Success to Date
Last fiscal year, despite the pandemic, we celebrated 10,700 families completing the in-home model since scaling up the program. The deep and meaningful relationships that home visitors had with the families were critical in the successful, quick pivot to doing remote work during the pandemic.
families supported since scaling up program
participants are 30 percentage points more likely to graduate
average completion of the 2-year program
children and their families graduated last year
With your support, we can make the ParentChild+ program available to even more underserved families in King County. Our goal is to double the percentage of kids in our community who are ready for kindergarten, from 40% to 80%.
“As a father, I know that the early years are a crucial learning time for families and children. Having support that’s of the same language and cultural background makes such a huge difference, too.” –Anand Naik, Senior Software Engineer and United Way ParentChild+ donor
ParentChild+ Honor Roll
With support from these generous donors, we are helping young kids become ready for school.
- City of Seattle
- King County Public Health Department
- Loeb Family Charitable Foundations
- PNC Foundation