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Catholic Charities Welcomes Parent Educators

FULTON, NY – Program supervisor Andrea Burritt has announced that Melissa Perry and Amy Knox have joined the staff of Catholic Charities of Oswego County.

Perry will serve as a parent educator and Knox an intensive parent educator with the agency’s Parent Education Program.

Andrea Burritt (center) welcomes new parent educators Melissa Perry (left) and Amy Knox to the Parent Education Program.
Andrea Burritt (center) welcomes new parent educators Melissa Perry (left) and Amy Knox to the Parent Education Program.

Currently serving more than 50 families throughout Oswego County, Catholic Charities’ Parent Education Program provides in-home supportive outreach for families who are at risk of losing their children to foster care or are attempting to reunite with their children.

A former teacher, Perry holds a master’s degree in Special Education from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State.

Prior to joining Catholic Charities, Perry worked at Pemberton Associates in Mexico, an early intervention agency serving developmentally delayed children up to three years of age.

At Pemberton, Perry assisted children with their social, emotional, cognitive, and adaptive development.

Her work with children and her past teaching experience will serve her well in her new role with the Parent Education Program.

As a parent educator, Perry will be working closely with families to reach specific goals, which have been established by the family’s case worker and herself, that will help them function effectively as a family unit.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work with the families in their own home and I enjoy the challenge of finding effective ways to meet each family’s unique needs and provide them with the tools they need to successfully relate to and deal with their children,” said Perry.

“One of the biggest benefits of this program is that I am able to offer parents and their children a different perspective on the issues that they are dealing with. From time to time every parent needs help with their parenting skills. The information that we provide is useful regardless of their current relationship with their children,” she added.

Perry will also be involved with teaching the many parenting classes that the program hosts throughout the year.

Specifically designed for parenting children based on their ages, the classes are offered free of charge to all parents who would like to attend.

Perry, who is looking forward to putting her teaching skills to use, encourages parents to take advantage of these classes, especially the program’s latest offering, a workshop for parents of newborns.

“Parents attending these classes will find the information to be very useful,” she said.

Knox, who holds bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and psychology from SUNY Oswego, returns home from California where she worked as a mental health counselor for pre-schoolers at the Community Action Commission in Santa Barbara.

Prior to this venture, Knox worked for Hillsborough County Department of Children and Families where she supervised a team of child abuse investigators and completed forensic investigations on behalf of law enforcement agencies.

Her past experience and her love of children made the Parent Education Program very appealing to her.

“I truly enjoy working with young children.  They are very open and receptive to change, said Knox.

As an intensive parent educator, Knox will be working with families who have severe issues and are at a high risk of having their children placed in foster care.

She works in the home with the families and will spend a minimum of three hours a week providing supportive counseling and education services to the parents as well as the children.

“I am working with families who are dealing with serious problems and are very close to losing their children. The knowledge and guidance that I provide allows them to make positive changes in their lives and enables them to keep their family together,” explained Knox.

While Knox has only has only been with the program a few weeks, she is impressed by both the Parent Education Program and her co-workers.

“I love the people that I work with. They are dedicated to helping others and making a positive difference in their lives. The Parent Education Program is an excellent example of this as the work that we do helps to keep families together. It’s a very rewarding experience and I am proud to be a part of it,” said Knox.

Burritt is happy to welcome the new staff members and is excited to see the program expand.

“Our Parent Education Program provides a vital service for our community. The demand for the services this program offers continues to grow and we are happy to be able to expand this program and offer as many families as possible the skills they need to develop stronger, healthier relationships,” said Burritt.

For more information, call Burritt at 598-3980.