Parents as Teachers says Kansas budget cuts are forcing program to cut back

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OLATHE, Kan. -- The Parents as Teachers program in Kansas says it's being forced to cut the number of families it helps. They say the program is another victim of the budget cuts in the state. Instead of being open to everyone, there are now criteria that eliminate dozens of families from being eligible.

Nancy Keel, the coordinator for the Olathe School District's Parents as Teachers program, says the service she and her co-workers provide is critical.

"I'm not the lady down the street, we're providing research based information," said Keel.

She helps parents learn how to most effectively teach their children who are newborns to three years old.

"Birth to three is the time when the brain is growing the fastest," she said.

But the parents as teachers program is changing.

"For the first time, we are not able to serve all families, or families who want to be in the program," said Keel.

There's now a list of criteria, families must meet one of the 19 options.

Some of those criteria include English as a second language, low household income, or teenaged parents.

Keel says 65-percent of her existing families still qualify for the program, but the rest had to be taken out of the program. That ended up being more than 150 families.

It's a cut that Keel says wasn't easy to make after years of welcoming everyone.

Because of some additional funding- the Olathe Parents as Teachers program will be able to continue group classes. However, the home visits will still be reserved only for families who are eligible.