Pennsylvania Community Based Family Centers Continue to Serve During COVID-19

A true measure of success is how a program functions during a crisis. The recent COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the tenacity of the Pennsylvania Community Based Family Centers. With very little warning or preparation time, all of the regions’ Parents as Teachers (PAT) programs immediately had their virtual doors open. Families experienced no interruption of service.


Pennsylvania’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) programs, staff, and families served have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs shifted from place-based services to interactive video conferencing and telecommunications to continue delivering the model program with fidelity or establish check-in routines with families in response to family requests. For information regarding the transition of services from video-conferencing and telecommunications to place-based services, check out the PAT Guidance Return Place-Based Work Families document.

Kudos to PAT Affiliate Parent Educator on winning award

Congratulations to Lauren Lazzari, a parent educator at Parents as Teachers – Beginnings, Inc. in Johnstown, on being named a 2020 PA Blue Ribbon Champion for Safe Kids by the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance.


As an in-home visitor, Lauren is trained to present a module on child sexual abuse prevention through the Penn State Smart Parents – Safe and Healthy Kids Initiative.


Recently, Lauren helped a family who found evidence of child sexual abuse to take it to the police. With this conclusive evidence, the man was arrested and is awaiting trial.


The family has celebrated, shared concerns, and discussed the aftermath of these events with Lauren without realizing how much of an influence she had on the matter. That is what makes her a true champion for children. She is quietly doing what needs to be done — educating, reporting, and supporting. She is a champion for our diverse community.


The Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids were chosen by an independent panel of judges and will be recognized for their outstanding contributions at the Child Abuse Prevention Symposium, scheduled for September 29, 2020, in Harrisburg.

Supporting families/staff during the COVID-19 health crisis

PAT Supervisors have shared some ideas that home visitors can conduct personal visits and group work during COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the Pennsylvania Parents as Teachers state office has created this list of resources to help support families and staff during this pandemic.


Also, PAT National Center is offering online resources to discuss Virtual Home Visiting and updated guidance via OLIVER at the Model Implementation Workspace. Please see the PAT National website for more details.


Please “see” families as you are able. Check-in with them via phone or virtual means even if you can’t conduct a visit. Now is a great time to remind them of the protective factors they have and will continue to build.


We look forward to continuing to partner with you as we share this unique pandemic experience. We at the PA PAT State Office are here to help in any way we can. As you are looking out for so many people and responding to so many changes, remember that you need to take care of yourself: first your oxygen mask, then the others. That way you can stay available to them.

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