In response to a series of 13 teenage suicides, a grassroots organization called Practical Parent Education was formed in Plano, Texas. Founded in 1986, Practical Parent Education was conceived on the belief that, " all parents need community support in order to rear responsible, self-confident, mentally-healthy children in today's complex society."
The main goals of the program are to create long term support services, education and learning resources to the parents. A variety of techniques are used to accomplish these goals.
Seminars on parenting are available in many settings such as apartment complexes, churches, jails, and homeless shelters. The lectures focus on many subjects like single parenting, attention deficit disorders, learning differences, teenagers as parents, and drug and alcohol prevention. Judges in Plano now require divorcing parents with children to take a seminar on the effects divorce has on children.
Parents can also turn to the family resources center, a 3,000 book, tape and video library on child development, and a parent help line and support groups. Support groups available include parents with at-risk teenagers, parents with attention deficit disorders, parents with special needs and teen parenting.
Education classes and tutoring are also available from Practical Parent Education. In 1992, an intergenerational literacy program was started. The program was developed for people with limited literacy skills and English proficiency. Families attend the weekly, four hour sessions together. Tutoring, homework assistance, learning enrichment programs and arts and crafts are also available for children.
Practical Parent Education has been used as a model in 300 Texas communities and 14 other states. Funding for the program comes from civic organizations and business donations. Space for classes is provided by schools, libraries and offices free of charge.