UMaine Extension’s Family Education Program Receives National Recognition as a Blue Ribbon Affiliate

artwork for Parents as Teachers Blue Ribbon AffiliateThe Maine Families program delivered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has earned Blue Ribbon Affiliate status, a prestigious endorsement from Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc., (PATNC). The endorsement makes it one of the top-performing home-visiting affiliates within Parents as Teachers’ international network. The official designation was made in October 2022.

Being named a Blue Ribbon Affiliate affirms that Extension’s Maine Families program is a high-quality member of the home visiting field and has implemented the evidence-based Parents as Teachers model with fidelity. While Maine Families is a statewide program, it is delivered in Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and parts of Cumberland counties by UMaine Extension.

Families in these counties are positively impacted by the program, which includes personalized visits, group connections, developmental and health screens, as well as connections to community resources. This relationship-based program is designed to address public health priorities and support families with knowledge and resources to prepare kids for a strong start in life and greater success in school.

“To earn the Blue Ribbon endorsement, we underwent a rigorous self-study and review process from the National Center. The process confirms that we are meeting Parents as Teachers’ standards of fidelity and quality,” said Melanie Bryan, program manager for Maine Families in Waldo County. “Blue Ribbon Affiliates are exemplary programs, delivering the highest quality services to children and families.”

Implementation with quality and fidelity is vital in home-visiting programs as it determines a program’s effectiveness in accomplishing its original goals and intended outcomes. It also verifies that a program is being implemented as designed. Parents as Teachers’ rigorous endorsement process demonstrates an affiliate’s accountability and credibility to the community, its funders, elected officials, and the partner organizations with which they work.

When asked how Maine Families Home Visiting has helped their family, one parent shared “My visitor made me feel more confident in my abilities as a parent and encouraged me that I’m doing a good job. The opportunity to speak to someone about parenting that is outside my family and is both passionate and knowledgeable helps me a lot.”

Visit the program website for more information about Maine Families in the midcoast area. Parent Program of Mid-Coast, a separate nonprofit organization, provides additional funding and oversight for the Maine Families program serving Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and parts of Cumberland counties.