The Parent Leadership Training Institute enables parents to interact within society with purpose and positive outcomes for children. This initiative is now in seventeen states and was created and launched by the Connecticut Commission on Children. PLTI teaches civic skills to families so that parents can partner in public policy for children. The PLTI civic practicums, studied by Southern Connecticut State University, revealed that 40% of the parent leaders were working on education issues, 19% on health issues, 13% on safety and 28% in economic and community development. PLTI is an intergenerational strategy to bolster parental civic involvement while promoting lifelong health, safety and learning of children. The cornerstones of PLTI are respect, validation and a belief that when the tools of democracy are understood, parents will actively enter civic life.

The presumptive values of PLTI are that democracy is the bridge linking the public and the state, parents and cultures. Participatory democracy creates ideas, births leaders, bolsters diversity and improves conditions for the next generation. With high expectations and training in civic activities, parents begin to have high expectations of community, neighborhood and the state. Dignity and skills building is the backdrop to renewed parent engagement.

This model initiative trains parents to be community leaders and a voice for children while concurrently working with community institutions and government agencies (i.e., schools, mayors, park departments) to better engage parents as partners. Parents participate in the PLTI evaluation and outcomes. Family supports, such as child care, are included. Each class of parents mentors the next class, creating a pyramid effect of community caring and a developing coalition of parents.

Parent Leadership Training Institute / National Parent Leadership Institute