The Parent Trust Fund is the first family civics initiative focused on training parents in leadership skills to improve the health, safety, and learning outcomes of children. It was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2001. The state Department of Education administers the Parent Trust Fund through the State Education and Resource Center (SERC).
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeded the Trust with $250,000. The William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund followed as the first foundation to contribute matching dollars to the state budget appropriation. Unlike any other state appropriation, the investment in the Parent Trust Fund is matched at the state and local levels. The $500,000 in state contribution raises an additional $625,000 in local cash and in-kind matching funds. Communities leverage local matching funds up to 50 percent of the total program cost.
Research shows that parent involvement has a significant, positive impact on child outcomes. The Trust prepares parents to work with school, community, and state leaders to improve health, safety, and learning outcomes for all children. More than 1,100 parents and their children are served annually. Each of these training graduates leaves better-prepared to advocate for their children, volunteer in their community, serve on nonprofit boards, lead parent-teacher associations, or run for public office. By mentoring and empowering parents, the Trust’s programs create ripple effects on family, local, and state levels.
Parent involvement programs supported by the Parent Trust Fund include: the nationally recognized Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), created by the Commission on Children; the University of Connecticut-sponsored People Empowering People (PEP); the Center for School Change’s Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (PSEE); and ASPIRA’s APEX, among others. In 2013-2014, 23 organizations were funded, providing 53 diverse programs in English, Spanish, and Albanian.
The Parent Trust Fund supports parent leadership training in Bloomfield, Bridgeport, Bristol, Coventry, Danbury, Enfield, Greenwich, Hamden, Hartford, Killingly, Meriden, Middletown, Milford, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, Plymouth, Stamford, Stratford, Torrington, Waterbury, West Hartford, and Windham.
Parents are better prepared to lead on behalf of children when they gain the knowledge and skills needed to help shape the future for their families, schools, and communities.
People Empowering People (PEP): A four- to six-month training focused on the parent as the leader in the home, linking families to additional resources, and building the foundation for further leadership opportunities. Curriculum is available in English, Albanian and Spanish.
The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI ): A 20- week training that prepares parents to lead in their school and community using an assets-based community development and social policy change framework.
Parents Supporting Educational Excellence (Parents SEE): A 12-week training focused on developing partnerships between parents and schools.
Voice for Families: A 15-week training that focuses on parent involvement and leadership with a community-to-state perspective.
ASPIRA–APEX: A 10-week training conducted primarily in Spanish, focusing on understanding community resources, supporting parental involvement in schools, and building self-confidence.
Parent leadership strengthens families and communities by creating positive change in the systems, policies, and programs designed to serve and support children.
Parents SEE training provides parents with new skills, supporting both immediate and long-term civic and social outcomes. Among graduates:
An evaluation of Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), revealed the following outcomes for graduates:
PLTI is a service mark of the Connecticut Commission on Children.