Connecticut Commission on Children: An Agency of the Connecticut General Assembly
The Connecticut Commission on Children
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Hartford, Connecticut 06106-1591

Phone: (860) 240-0290  | Fax: (860) 240-0248 | E-mail

The Parent Trust Fund

A Statewide Parent Involvement Initiative

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What is the Parent Trust Fund?

The Parent Trust is the first family involvement initiative focused on training parents in civic leadership skills to improve the health, safety, and learning of children.

The Parent Trust Fund was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2001. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeded the Trust with $250,000. The William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund followed as the first Connecticut foundation to contribute. The State Department of Education administers the Parent Trust Fund through the State Education and Resource Center (SERC).

Why is the Parent Trust important?

Research shows that parent involvement has a significant positive impact on child outcomes. The Parent Trust Fund prepares parents to work with school, community, and state leaders to improve health, safety, and learning outcomes for all children.

What communities use the Fund?

Parent involvement programs supported by the Parent Trust Fund include the nationally recognized Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), the University of Connecticut-sponsored People Empowering People (PEP), Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (PSEE), and ASPIRA’s APEX, among others. (See below for details.)

Currently the Parent Trust Fund supports parent leadership training in Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Bristol, Danbury, Enfield, Greenwich, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, Plymouth, Torrington, Waterbury, West Hartford, and Windham. Many communities leverage local funding to offer a range of parent leadership training programs.

What are some notable outcomes of the Fund?

The Parent Trust Fund serves an average of more than 1,100 parents annually across Connecticut. All of these graduates leave better prepared to advocate for their children, volunteer in their community, serve on nonprofit boards, lead parent-teacher associations, and run for public office.

A sample of training models that currently receive Parent Trust Funds:

People Empowering People (PEP): Meets two hours a week for four to six months and can be targeted to specific populations, with curriculum available in English or Spanish.

The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI): A 20-week  training that uses an assets-based community development and social policy change framework. 

Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (Parents SEE): A twelve-week training focused on parent leadership in schools. Voice for Families: A fifteen week training that focuses on parent involvement and leadership with a community-to-state perspective. 

Voice for Families: A 15-week training that focuses on parent involvement and leadership with a community-to-state perspective.

AFCAMP Parent Leadership Training: A series of integrated workshops targeted to minority parents and focused on developing a better understanding of juvenile justice, special education, and the Department of Children and Families. Provided by the African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities.

ASPIRA Parents for Excellence (APEX): A 10-week class conducted primarily in Spanish and focused on understanding community resources and building self-confidence.

What is parent leadership?

Parent leadership emerges when parents gain the knowledge and skills needed to function successfully in meaningful leadership roles that help to shape the future for their families, schools, and communities.

How does parent leadership make a difference?

Parent leadership strengthens families and communities by creating positive change in the systems and policies designed to serve and support children.   A comprehensive evaluation of one parent leadership model, the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), revealed the following outcomes:

"I have become an effective leader. I have confidence to pursue my goals. I can be an effective, nurturing mother. I can change my community. I can advocate for children and families."

--Excerpt of a 2006 letter from a Danbury PLTI graduate whose training was funded by the Parent Trust Fund

For more information, call the Connecticut Commission on Children at (860) 240-0290.

PLTI is a service mark of the Connecticut Commission on Children.

This page was last updated: November 25, 2013

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