Reimbursement for Parenting Education Services
In a recent White Paper (Jones, Allen & Barnes, 2016) the authors suggest that Parent education needs to become a billable service that can be funded by Medicaid, Medicare and Private Insurance. They assert throughout their article, quite succinctly, that parent education saves State and Federal dollars through providing the support and education needed to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect, which in turn, ends up costing money in treatment of physical and mental health injury. I agree with them and with many of the points the article makes about the benefits of parent education and its effect on reducing harm. They also illustrate efforts made in the last 20 years to professionalize parent education and provide a set of standards that the field is held too.
I believe that until stronger efforts are made to have Legislative bodies and Not-for-Profit Organizations recognize the standards, require certifications/credentials and make this a part of the workforce, Parent Educators will continue to struggle and not succeed in being able to bill for services. When government and private industry begin to acknowledge the benefits of parenting education through funding and workforce development, then being able to bill for services will become a reality.
As a credentialed parent educator in New York State (NYSPEP) http://nyspep.org/ and Certified Family Life Educator with the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)https://www.ncfr.org/ , I have not found any value in being credentialed and proving that I meet standards. If anything, my Agency looks good when the accreditation team comes. I haven’t been offered any assistance financially, for my applications for credentialing and receive no support in the continuing reapplications after being certified. And in the case of NCFR, I have to be a dues paying member in order to continue to be recertified. Until professionalism of Parent Educators is achieved, I find it hard to expect that being able to bill for services will be possible.
My State government, local government and grant funders do not ask about credentials or standards that are met. They are only interested in how many people will be served with the smallest amount of funding and have my Supervisor work tirelessly at being able to demonstrate that we are meeting outcomes. In this sense, we are really being looked at as a business. In my community, I am very popular and am a “come to” person. For myself, and I believe other parent educators, we need to work at learning how to become a business.
NCFR seems get this. A group of CFLE’s suggested some coaching around setting up our own businesses. In Continuing Conversation, Mara Briere and Naketta Lowery led a recent webinar in NCFR’s 4-part series, Starting and Running Your Own Family Life Education Business https://www.ncfr.org/events/
Credentialed Senior Parenting Educator, Schenectady, New York
NPEN Council Member, Secretary