What makes a Parent Leadership Training Institute “Ready” Community?

You may have explored our website, heard from a parent or been encouraged by a partner and arrived at the point of wanting to implement the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) in your community.  After years of implementing and sustaining PLTI  in various locations over the past 25 years, we have a pretty good idea of what community readiness looks like.  We have received countless requests for PLTI engagement from various sites and states: some are PLTI-ready and some are not.

You might be wondering, “Is my community ready?”
A PLTI-ready community:

  • Seeks to have parent engagement, but may not know how;
  • Is willing to work outside of a single issue area;
  • Is not zealous to move a particular agenda or law;
  • Is able to and seeks to work across policy and program areas;
  • Is willing to begin to think about civics rather than just services for families;
  • Is able to work with a diverse group of stakeholders that represent the demographics of the region;
  • Is willing to share leadership across community and agency. This does not have to be led by and for just one agency;
  • Is willing to create a civic design team that brings in civic messengers as well as children’s agencies. This might include a fireman, a children’s librarian, the barber, a neighbor as well as civic institutions such as a children’s museum or library.
  • Embrace difference in values and diversity at every level of the system;
  • Can help raise funds with others to pay for the startup;
  • Is willing to take part in a national evaluation and will collect data on each person, pre and post class on civic skills;
  • Will create a process and system that will assist parents in their civic projects;
  • Has a network of people who will guide parent leadership and family civics in the town for children and youth;
  • Will work with parents as partners after they graduate;
  • Understands that work will need to be done to ensure local systems are ready to engage parents as leaders post-PLTI; and
  • Works systemically, rather than agency by agency

Lessons Learned About Parent Leadership
Elaine Zimmerman, Connecticut Commission on Children
Download Download

Parent Leadership Training Institute Curriculum
Helping parents who care, become parents who lead
All National Locations
Download Download

The Curriculum

The Parent Leadership Training Institute curriculum helps parents become the leaders they would like to be for their children. The twenty week course and civic practice offers detailed information on how change occurs in states and neighborhoods to improve child outcomes. Parents focus on their interests in a supportive context. Participants span age, race, culture and education level, creating a diverse community of families working together for children and youth.

Parents are offered five phases of training, built on interactive adult learning practices: A retreat to develop group and define mission; ten weeks on parent leadership with focus on voice, difference, values, and family and community strength; ten weeks on how change occurs for children, including best practice, data analysis, model policy, network building and a communications framework; a parent- selected community project to practice civic learnings; and an optional Alumni Program, after graduation, to share projects and exchange information.

The PLTI curriculum offers a two-generation strategy to bolster parental involvement while promoting the lifelong health, safety and learning of children. The curriculum braids child development, leadership, and democracy skills together. A graduation follows in a local civic setting or the State Capitol with community and state policy leaders in partnership. An optional Children’s Leadership Training Institute for the children of the parents-in-training, uses children’s literature to teach parallel content.

Click button to view/download the curriculum description.




The Children’s Leadership Training Institute (CLTI) is a parallel course to the Parent Leadership Training Institute. Following the profile of PLTI, it is organized into the two sections: Phase I – Developing Community and Phase II – Democracy and civic skills.

CLTI was an idea that emerged at a PLTI graduation. It was there that the children’s pride in both their parents’ accomplishments and their own became visible. This challenged us to develop a parallel childcare component that includes parallel content. It is an organic bridge for parents and children who would now share the course experience.

CLTI uses literacy as a base and creates a full spectrum of activities that parallel the PLTI course and encompass the multiple intelligences.



Are you ready to implement PLTI in your community?

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your Message