The Milford Health Department, in collaboration with Kids Count of Milford and the United Way of Milford, will kick off Milford’s 7th Annual Parent Leadership Training Institute in January.

The Parent Leadership Training Institute program was developed by the State of Connecticut’s Commission on Children to enable parents to become leading advocates for children.

The cornerstones of the program are respect, validation, and a belief that when the tools of democracy are understood, the public will actively engage in civic life.

“If you want to make a real difference in the community, Milford’s Parent Leadership Training Institute provides an opportunity for parents to develop the leadership skills necessary to effect change and become an effective advocate for all children,” said Deepa Joseph, Health Director at the Milford Health Department.

Parent Leadership Training Institute students participate in a 20-week comprehensive program designed to provide the civic and leadership skills needed to work in the community on behalf of children. Each student completes a community project that contributes to the well being of Milford’s children.

The community project also gives students a hands-on opportunity to apply the skills learned in the program.

Milford Parent Leadership Training Institute Alumnus, Augie Harrigan, said, “I had a great experience with Milford’s Parent Leadership Training Institute program. There are few programs as uniquely designed to put people in touch with their communities. It was an extremely empowering experience.”

The Parent Leadership Training Institute is conducted in Milford to involve, empower and support parents and caregivers to improve the lives of children at home, in school, and in the community.

It also provides training for parents in the areas of conflict resolution, negotiation and public speaking, as well as on best practices in areas such as child development, education and human services.

Applications for the program are currently being accepted by the Milford Health Department. Classes, dinner and on-site childcare will be provided free of charge to participants. The class will be limited to 25 participants.

For more information and to register online, visit http://www.ci.milford.ct.us/healthdepartment/webforms/plti-online-registration or call Lesley Darling, Parent Leadership Training Institute Coordinator, at the Milford Health Department at 203-783-3314.