Grant Application Entries
Home of the Innocents
1100 East Market Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
Expanding Parents Acquiring Skills & Strength (PASS) Program in Response to COVID-19
Parents Acquiring Skills & Strength (PASS) is the Home's highly successful parenting program focused on preventing child abuse and neglect. Provided free of charge to the community, this program keeps families together and saves lives.
PASS classes aim to help families prevent child abuse and avoid unnecessary placement of their children and youth into foster care, group care, psychiatric hospitals, or juvenile justice facilities. The PASS program offers multiple 12-week cycles of parenting classes, so parents and caregivers can join at any time. In the upcoming year, we will offer 27 cycles (324 classes), which include: 15 cycles in Louisville, 6 cycles in Hardin County, and 6 cycles in New Albany, Indiana.
The PASS program utilizes the nationally recognized evidence-based Nurturing Parenting® Programs curriculum, which was selected for the soundness of its methods and its proven record of success. Over the course of twelve weeks, caregivers learn to build a stronger foundation for their families and gain the skills needed to become a better parent. The PASS program has three primary objectives: 1) Stop abusive/neglectful behavior against children within families by their parents and caregivers, 2) Increase knowledge of parenting methods/styles and the roles of members within a family, and 3) Improve empathy between/among family members.
The PASS program aligns with the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation’s purpose to assist in serving Kentucky’s underserved persons and their dependents by providing well-organized and administered welfare programming for self-help and training. PASS ensures academic and social preparedness for kindergarten success by linking children and families to ongoing supports that address learning challenges. When they enter our program, parents and children gain access to a wide range of community resources that they may not have been connected to otherwise. Our staff of parent educators are well-versed in social services and keep an up-to-date list of regional referrals to connect families to the resources that will most benefit them. We improve access to high-quality child development programs through the Nurturing Parenting® Programs curriculum, which outlines programming for children that corresponds to each week’s parenting lessons. Most significantly, PASS classes increase caregiver knowledge, skills, and engagement in their child’s success by providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to promote healthy relationships through the evidence-based Nurturing Parenting® curriculum.
PASS Program Manager and Nurturing Parenting Coordinator Karen Feldmanis has worked for the Home for over 20 years. She was certified as a Nurturing Parenting instructor in 2010 and as a “Trainer of Trainers” in September 2014. There are currently six Program Facilitators on staff who are also certified Nurturing Parenting instructors.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, children are at a higher risk of maltreatment due to factors like social isolation and increased parental stress. PASS classes have adapted to this new landscape, providing virtual classes multiple times per week via Zoom, a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software. To remove barriers for our participants, we are also providing WiFi cards to families who lack access to reliable internet. Our program facilitators are also holding one-on-one Zoom meetings with participants who express a desire to learn more about certain class topics. A $5,000 grant from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation will be used towards IT needs to help the PASS program continue virtually and recruit new clients until it is safe to meet in-person.
Ideally, we would like to secure this funding as soon as possible. The Home’s Grants Team is always looking for funding opportunities that can pave the way for necessary programs such as PASS to expand and meet ever-growing community needs. With the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation’s partnership and support, our PASS program can create more classroom opportunities to focus on serving families at risk of child abuse and whose needs remain unmet. Class cycles are January – April, April – June, and August – October. (PASS classes take a break during the holidays to give participating families the ability to focus on holiday activities.) Currently, Zoom classes are held on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, as well as Thursday at lunch-time.
Established in 1880, Home of the Innocents enriches the lives of children and families with hope, health, and happiness. Our main campus is located in downtown Louisville, and we operate satellite offices in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and in Southern Indiana. The Home provides loving, therapeutic care to children who are victims of abuse, abandonment, and neglect, as well as loving and skilled care to children who are medically complex and children with behavioral health diagnoses. We offer multiple residential and community-based services to all populations of vulnerable children and their families throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Home of the Innocents serves all children, regardless of demographic identity, behavioral or emotional challenges, physical limitations, financial or language barriers, or family situations. Last year, the Home provided care to over 12,700 children and families.
From July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020, the PASS program served 525 parents and children: 432 in Louisville, 38 in Southern Indiana, and 55 in Hardin County. Of that total, 431 were parents and caregivers and 94 were children. 58% were Female and 42% were Male. 23% were Black, 66% were White, 7% were Multi-racial
Home of the Innocents employs over 600 caring, dedicated, and highly trained staff, and engage over 200 volunteers each year across our main campus in downtown Louisville and satellite offices in Southern Indiana and Elizabethtown, KY. Currently, volunteers may not come to campus due to COVID-19 safety concerns. However, our dedicated volunteers have found new ways to engage with the children we serve, like conducting virtual cupcake decorating classes via Zoom.
Karen Feldmanis serves as the PASS Program Coordinator, as well as a facilitator of classes. Karen has worked for the Home for almost 20 years, primarily in intake where she saw the worst examples of poor parenting daily. Her time is devoted to PASS and staff continuing education. Karen was certified as an instructor of the Nurturing Parenting curriculum in 2010 and certified as a "Trainer of Trainers” in Sept. 2014. PASS also utilizes six other Program Facilitators to assist Karen in delivering PASS classes.
Our purpose at Home of the Innocents is to enrich the lives of children and families with hope, health, and happiness. Home of the Innocents creates better outcomes for those we serve: children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected; children who are medically complex and require 24-hour medical care; children who are in foster care; children from partner agencies who need outpatient services from Open Arms Children’s Health, the Home’s multi-discipline pediatric medical care facility; children of refugee families; children with a range of therapeutic and behavioral needs; pregnant and parenting teens; and homeless young adults and their dependent children.
We are a trusted resource for children and families in our community. We provide person-centered, integrated services dedicated to improving lives. We embrace innovation, optimize technology, and use evidence-based treatment models to help build a better future. We focus on meeting increased needs throughout our state by engaging partners to achieve sustainable growth.
Each year, the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services releases a Child Maltreatment report that measures the incidences of child abuse and neglect in each state. In the 2018 report, the most recent year for which data is available, Kentucky ranked number 1 in the country for child abuse and neglect. About 23.5 out of every 1,000 Kentucky children are victims of abuse, an almost 30% increase in confirmed child victimization compared to 2013. We expect to see these numbers rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to experts, this pandemic is a perfect storm for child maltreatment due to the increase in risk factors like high unemployment, widespread social isolation, and rising rates of substance abuse in the home.
Our PASS classes prevent child abuse and neglect by providing counseling, skills, and techniques to address common parenting issues and concerns, stabilize the family, increase overall safety, and enhance family functioning. Topics covered in these classes include child development, parenting skills, anger management, other mood management skills, communication, and assertiveness.
Home of the Innocents has successfully administered PASS classes and expanded our number of cycles in Louisville and Southern Indiana. With support from Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, we successfully expanded the PASS program to Hardin County residents in January 2018 with 3 initial cycles. The Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation believes in enlarging and broadening the scope of operation of successful, well-organized and administered welfare agencies. Established in 1880 to serve 8 vulnerable children and their mothers, Home of the Innocents today, 140 years later, serves over 12,700 at-risk children and families per year. The Home is very much a successful, well-organized and administered welfare agency. Grant dollars from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation will support the efforts to expand virtual PASS classes to families in our state during this global pandemic.
The population to be served primarily consists of parents and caregivers (and significant others) who have had involvement with the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS). The focus is on those adults who have been suspected of or have had substantiated cases of abusing a child, but who indicate a sincere desire to change and improve their parenting behavior. Some PASS participants are referred by DCBS, while others simply wish to learn about healthy parenting skills. The classes are offered at no charge to the community. While cycles consist of 12 classes, they are not in a certain order, so anyone may enter the program at any time. Clients exit the program when they have successfully completed all 12 classes. When classes are held in-person, we encourage participants to bring their children, who receive their own programming from the Nurturing Parenting curriculum. Additional participants include grandparents, aunts/uncles, adult siblings, “honorary” family, or others closely involved in the child’s life.
Because children have been out of school since March, child abuse reports have dropped. However, this does not mean that cases of abuse are declining. Many reports of child abuse come from teachers who see their students every day. However, since the onset of COVID-19, these children have been isolated, often with their abusers, as the majority of child abuse perpetrators (76%) are the child’s parents. According to Dr. Melissa Currie, providers are still seeing steady, if not increasing, reports of severe abuse, where the child is taken to the hospital. The level of less severe child abuse is likely continuing this trend, although they may be isolated from teachers, doctors, or law enforcement officials that can help them. The PASS program’s goal, especially in recent months, is to reach out to these parents and show them more healthy parenting skills, thus improving their quality of life and preventing the removal of a child from their home. Since our program has begun holding virtual classes, we have identified an opportunity to reach out to even more families in Kentucky, especially those in rural areas who could not previously attend in-person classes.
At this time, PASS is the only program that addresses this specific need at no cost to families. Our relationship with the Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) and the courts allows us to intervene quickly and help parents comply with their case plans. In 208, we began providing PASS classes to male and female inmates at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections. These participants have been eager to learn new skills that they can use with their children upon their release.
Launched in 2005 with support from Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, PASS today serves families in Louisville and Elizabethtown in Kentucky and in Southern Indiana. The city of Louisville has even requested our PASS program for use in the Jefferson County Jail, as therapy and motivation for incarcerated mothers. The program’s successful track record across all locations is thanks to a strong, evidence-based core curriculum, knowledgeable staff and volunteers, and a program design that removes barriers to parents, namely cost, food, and childcare. Open enrollment allows families to enter the program at any time during the class cycle, ensuring that they receive services as soon as they need them.
A standardized testing instrument, the AAPI (Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory), is administered to each parent at the start of and upon completing a 12-week cycle of PASS classes to measure participants' progress in five parenting skill areas: 1) appropriate parental expectations; 2) empathic awareness of children’s needs; 3) changing strong belief in the use of corporal punishment; 4) identifying parent-child role reversal; and 5) supporting children’s growth into independence. We will know if we’ve achieved our projected targets by the number of parents who report increased knowledge in any one of these five parenting skill areas after completing a 12-week cycle of PASS.
Nationally, over 30 studies have analyzed the pre- and post-test responses to the Nurturing Parenting Curriculum since 1983. The vast majority of these studies have shown that parents report a significant increase in positive parenting attitudes and behaviors, as well as significant increases in each of the five AAPI skill areas. A 2013 study of Latino families in California found that post-test scores showed positive increases in all five AAPI skill areas, with the largest increases relating to empathy, alternatives to corporal punishment, and supporting children’s independence (Bavolek, Keene, Miranda & Radcliff, 2013). Another study of 903 participants from the community, local jails, and drug treatment facilities in Tennessee found that the Nurturing Parenting Program was successful in lowering the overall risk for child abuse (Bunch, 2016).
The results from the PASS program mirror those of national studies. After completing our program, over 85% of adult participants demonstrated lower risk factors for child abuse or neglect and more than 80% scored within normal parenting ranges on the five parenting skill areas.
The PASS Program in Kentucky is primarily supported through funding from Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky. Additional funders for the program in Kentucky include Ford Motor Company, the UPS Foundation, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, anonymous family foundations, and Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, where we provide PASS classes to both male and female inmates. As our presence in Elizabethtown grows, we continue to further build relationships and partnerships to keep the PASS program sustainable across Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
The Home covers the cost to train PASS Facilitators and Child Enrichment Counselors and currently has a team of qualified staff available to continue administering the program and expanding its efforts. The Home has existing copies of the Nurturing Parenting Curricula and facilitator and parent workbooks as a current provider of Self-Help, Parent Education, and Support Groups, and is experienced in administering the AAPI. All of these resources support the longevity of the PASS program.
If partial funding is awarded, the Home’s Grants Team will continue to seek out funding opportunities to ensure that the program will continue to operate at full capacity. If additional funding is not secured, the number of classes and class cycles we can offer will be limited.
Home of the Innocents does not charge any fees for PASS program services. The majority of clients who utilize Home of the Innocents services are from low-to-moderate income groups. Our estimated percentage of low-income persons served across the agency is 80%. We serve many marginalized populations, including refugee families and young adults experiencing homelessness. Medicaid recipients make up 97% of the patients and families who visit Open Arms, our on-site pediatric health clinic. All services are provided at no cost to our clients, except for our Aquatic Therapy Center, which charges a small fee to community members in order to balance the cost of upkeep for our therapeutic saltwater pool.
1.8% (approximately $718,742) of the Home’s budget is used for agency fund-raising efforts.
11% (approximately $4,679,901) of the Home’s budget is used for administrative costs.
Home of the Innocents received a grant of $6,000 in July 2013 from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation to fund implementation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) services for teens suffering complex trauma. Specifically, the grant provided three trainings: DBT Clinical In-service led by Dr. Martha Wetter on August 13, 2013; Healing Broken Bonds: Traumatic Attachment and Affect Regulation Training by Dr. Janina Fisher on March 14, 2014; and Treating PTSD in DBT with Borderline Personality Disordered Clients by Dr. Melanie Harned on May 14, 2014. The grant also purchased training materials (clinical training manual and DVDs), client workbooks, and psychoeducational therapy tools. The interventions that staff learned continue to be shared with other staff and applied in the Home’s emergency shelter and residential treatment program.