Programs PARENTS AND CHILDREN TOGETHER - PACT


"She let my son know he wasn't alone
in dealing with his problems, and that
there is a whole network of people who
care and will help."
Program Characteristics
PACT (Parents and Children Together) is a prevention/early intervention program that provides in-home counseling, skill building, and support. The program is based on the HOMEBUILDERS model of family preservation, and operates throughout King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties in Washington State. The goals of the PACT program are to help families improve family functioning, increase parenting skills, improve children's behavior at home and in school, and increase family social supports and social connections.

PACT collaborates with schools, public health, juvenile court, and community organizations to strengthen neighborhood and community supports, and to help families and children coordinate the resources, supports, and services that are available. Each family served receives approximately 30 hours of direct service.

Population Served
PACT serves low-income children and their families who are at high risk of abuse and neglect, school failure, behavioral and mental health problems, family violence, and involvement with the juvenile justice system. PACT targets children who are "falling through the cracks" of our community service systems.

Outcome Data
Progress on program outcomes is measured using a pre/post rating of the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale (NCFAS), a nationally used, validated instrument for assessing changes in child and family functioning and aspects of the family's environment. The most recent data show that approximately one-half of the families entered the PACT program scoring at baseline or below in at least one life domain. At the closure of services, 73% of these families showed significant improvement in family functioning, 92% showed significant improvement in child well-being and behavior, and 83% showed significant improvement in social supports.

A PACT Story
Kathleen's* 4-year-old autistic son Casey* slept on average only 2 hours a night and her 6-year-old daughter had recently been diagnosed as hyperactive. Although she couldn't work, Kathleen didn't want to go on welfare. As a single mom with two special-needs kids living on just $400 a month, it's no wonder Kathleen felt depressed. When her depression turned to thoughts of suicide, a public health nurse decided to call in PACT.

The PACT therapist met with Kathleen in her apartment so she could meet the whole family in their home environment. They talked together about the many challenges Kathleen faced. As bedtime neared, Kathleen became more and more anxious about trying to get Casey into bed. The therapist watched as Kathleen struggled to help Casey get his pajamas on and brush his teeth. The more frustrated Kathleen got, the more wound up Casey got, until both of them were close to tears.

The PACT therapist worked with Kathleen on coping skills for dealing with Casey's autism. Together, they used relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation to keep her from getting anxious when it was time to put him to bed. Because she was calmer, Casey was calmer and fell asleep more easily.

Kathleen also learned a variety of parenting skills. Together, she and the therapist created a bedtime routine for both of the children. First Kathleen used some of the relaxation techniques to get herself ready. After helping Casey change into his pajamas, she rubbed his back for 10 minutes. This helped him to slowly calm down and get ready for sleep. They also dealt with his tendency to get up in the middle of the night so Kathleen could calmly help get him back into bed and back to sleep.

By end of intervention, Casey was sleeping more than 6 hours a night. The therapist had helped Kathleen apply for SSI in the hopes that an additional source of income would relieve some of her stress. Although Kathleen no longer had thoughts of suicide, she was still experiencing problems with her depression. The PACT therapist arranged a referral for the family to get ongoing counseling.

* Client names have been changed to protect their identity.