From Dr. David Allen...
I would like to introduce you to a small tool that
can greatly help you increase the safety and security of your
children. It is called the "Caring Homes Directory" and we
have been giving parents an opportunity to be included in this
annual directory since the 2001/2002 school year. In the 2001/2002
directory 13% of the district children were included and this past
school year there were 28%. Allow me a minute to share why the directory is
You might ask "Why is talking with other
parents so important?" In all the years I have been a parent
and have worked in the schools, I have learned that establishing
open communication between parents is an important prevention
measure. Again you might ask "A prevention measure for
what?" My wife, Gretchen, and I learned that our children could
easily end up in tough situations where the opportunity and pressure
to make bad decisions could be intense. Decisions including alcohol
and other drugs, violence and destruction, sexual behavior and other
In the Spring of 2010 we administered the
"At-Risk" survey to all of our 6th, 9th, and 12th grade
students. We conducted this survey every three years
since 1995. For the most part the use of alcohol and other drugs by
the youth in our community has declined. However, the use of these
substances by a large number of our youth is alarming. Besides
donít you think just one kid participating in these activities
should be a concern? It certainly would be if that one child were
What should be of particular interest to us is not
just that our sons or daughters may be using alcohol and other drugs
but how young people report obtaining these substances and where
they are using them. When asked the question, "In the past year
or so, where did you drink alcohol?" the number one answer was
home" by 21%
of the 9th graders and a whopping 60% of the seniors. Twenty percent
of 9th graders and 35% of 12th graders reported their own "home"
as a place where they drink alcohol. If this isnít an argument for
parents communicating with one another and providing better
supervision, I donít know what is.
There are a number of reasons that parents are
reluctant to call other parents. Can you relate to any of these? I
know I can. One reason is that we donít want to convey that we
donít trust our child, their child, or other parents. The call may
be awkward. You may hear something that might prevent you from
allowing your child to visit e.g. no adult supervision. Another
reason we might not make the call, and this is a big one, our child
will be mortified. Yes, our children are not the only ones who
experience pressure. Our own children are fully capable of
pressuring us not to make the call. It may be easier if the parents
of your childís friend have also signed the pledge. Basically,
they are asking for you to call.
Please review some of the other survey results on
the next page. Remember these percentages represent young people not
just numbers. When the survey indicates that 48% of the seniors
reported drinking alcohol on a regular basis that represents 105 boys
and girls. Sixty-one said they drink one or two times per month, 39 said one to two times per week and
5 reported almost every day.
To see the survey results, click here.
So go ahead, take a look at the pledge. If you are not already
included in the directory, print a copy of the pledge, fill it out,
and return it to your school office or mail it to the Indiana Area School District, 501 East Pike, Indiana, PA 15701. For
those who participated last year, you need not submit a new pledge
card since we will automatically include you in the directory and
generate the grade change of your child. However, if there are
any other family changes or directory information changes, please complete a new pledge.
Important Caring Homes Message
David R. Allen, Ph.D.
For several excellent reasons, the Caring
Homes Campaign will continue but the Caring Homes Directory will be
distributed electronically to the
families who signed the pledge. We believe that the
Directory will continue to serve these families well as we gather
updates for the 12th Edition which will be published and
disseminated in the Fall of 2013/2014 school year.
For those families who have not yet signed the
pledge, please take a look at the following Caring Homes Campaign
description and Caring Homes Campaign Pledge. You can complete the
pledge and return it to your childís school for inclusion in the
Caring Homes Program
The Caring Homes Program?
Parents today are concerned about the alarming
use of alcohol and other drugs among our youth, as well as the
social acceptability. Parents also are aware of the need to help
children resist alcohol and other drugs. Young people must be able
to feel that it is okay to abstain from alcohol and other drugs.
Therefore, it is important for parents to take a unified stand on
this issue. You are invited to join the Caring Homes Program, a
voluntary program sponsored by the Indiana Area School District.
The Caring Homes Program is a way that parents
can join together to help provide a safer community for their
children. It does not
require a commitment of extra time or effort for already busy family
members. It is simply a public agreement to follow some common sense
principles aimed at providing an alcohol and other drug free
environment for children. Caring
Homes encourages communication between parents and youth and
emphasizes a strong parental support network.
Given that youth begin to form friendships with
peers who may be unknown to parents, Caring Homes provides a vehicle
for establishing contact with other families with whom your child
may be associating. It
also provides a way to know your childís whereabouts and
activities. The goal is
to encourage parents to talk with other parents about what their
children are doing.
Most recently, 780 families participated in
the Caring Homes Program.
Based on positive feedback and interest, we are offering the
opportunity for information to be updated and additional families to
be added to this effort.
If you participated last year, you need
not submit a new pledge card since we will automatically include you
in the directory and generate the grade change of your child.
However, if there are any other family changes, please
complete a new pledge card.
Why Should I Join
the Caring Homes Program?
lets your child know that you care.
helps parents establish a clear and consistent ďno useĒ message
about alcohol and other drugs.
child should know that you are talking with other parents and that
parents have agreed on similar rules and guidelines for their
will have access to a Fall 2013 Caring Homes Directory of
who support this effort.
The Caring Homes Campaign
The Caring Homes Pledge is not a legal
contract. Rather, the Pledge is intended to signify a good faith
effort to follow its principles.
It creates no legal liability for the Indiana Area School
District. Parents do not create any additional legal liability for
themselves or their households by participating.
adult in the home is encouraged to sign the pledge. Only one form per household is necessary. By signing the pledge, unless
otherwise indicated, participants grant permission to have all
information that they provide listed in the Fall 2013
Caring Homes Directory.
I Pledge to Provide a Caring Home
Although I will do my best to uphold this
pledge, I cannot guarantee the safety of any child or
adolescent that is visiting my home.
clear family rules for all children visiting my home.
a safe storage place for all forms of alcohol and prescription
an effort to inform any parent of a child that I personally observe
using alcohol or other drugs.
calls from any parent who observes or suspects my child of using
alcohol or other drugs.
calls from any parent whose child has been invited to my home.
I will not:
allow parties or unauthorized gatherings in my home when I am not
allow illegal drugs in my home.
minors or knowingly allow youth under the legal drinking age (21) to
consume alcohol in my home or on my property.
to access the directory information form. Complete and sign
this form and return it to your child's school or mail it Amy
O'Neal, Indiana Area School District, 501 East Pike, Indiana PA
information submitted on the information form will not be sold or
intentionally distributed for solicitation purposes by the Indiana
Area School District.
to IASD home page
Dr. Allen's Parent Resource Page