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Parents Can't Do It Alone

In the U.S., and probably many places, low income parents face multiple challenges, the largest of which is that they are often single parents who are attempting to work and or go to school while raising their children by themselves. Quite often they don't have good role models of parenting, they lack the educational resources to help kids with key early learning goals like vocabulary expansion, and they lack a network of parenting support. Programs like U.S. Head Start succeed in part because they help parents fill these gaps while also nurturing and educating these children. In particular they work hard to equip parents with parenting skills and a network of support.

Photo of Brock Leach
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The main challenges with Head Start are that it is underfunded and that the work with parents ends when children reach Kindergarten.   Using my community as an example,  only about 65% of the highest needs children are served.  Also, successful Head Start agencies supplement the federally funded program by raising additional community funds for robust parenting education programs and networking.    There is a clear opportunity to harness the many resources in any community into a network that becomes an effective family to single parents working hard to raise strong kids.

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Photo of Anna Dilley

I am not a single parent but I didn't have a support network from the community when I had my first child. I live on the opposite side of the world to my family and my husbands family so had to rely on creating my own support system - very difficult when you are suffering from post-natal depression! All communities need to find a better way to support new parents - who can then in turn give their children the best possible start. Information, community support, local groups all need to be readily available.