Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI)

Mission statement 

The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) helps parents become leading advocates for children. It is designed by the American Leadership Forum, Leadership Greater Hartford, and the Connecticut Commission on Children.


The cornerstones of the program are respect, validation and a belief that when the tools of democracy are understood, the public will become active participants in communities.

What is Parent Leadership?

Parent leadership is the capacity for parents to interact within society with purpose and positive outcomes for children.

The public is increasingly alienated from government. Most parents are deeply concerned about the impact of schools, community and the environment on their children, but don't know how systems function or how decisions are made within the public policy and budget domains. A democracy toolkit is needed to develop the skills of civic leadership.


PLTI achieves the following goals:

• Help parents become the leaders they would like to be for children and families;

• Expand the capacity of parents as change agents for children and families;

• Develop communities of parents within regions of the state that will support one another in skills development and successful parent action for children;

• Facilitate systems change for parental involvement with increased utilization of parents in policy and process decisions; and

• Increase parent-child interactions and improve child outcomes through parent involvement.

The Course

Parents are offered leadership training that includes:

• a retreat to develop group communication;

• 10 weeks of classes on self and perception of leadership;

• 10 weeks on practicing democracy skills; and

• a community project based upon the student's personal passions.

The 20-week course also includes instruction on:

• Understanding personal history and its impact on perceptions of leadership

• Thriving and working with diversity

• Assessing and defining problems - thinking critically

• Using the media

• Public speaking

• Using benchmarks and outcome measures

• Forming useful coalitions and building community

• Working with and how to engage the opposition

• Understanding policy and municipal budgets

• Becoming familiar with city, state and federal law.

Who are the parent leaders?

Adults raising children including mothers, fathers, grandparents, stepparents parents. But you don't need to be a parent to be in the class, just care about improving systems for children.

Who benefits?

Parents, children and communities benefit. Parents gain self-confidence using their skills as change-agents within communities. Children benefit when parents participate more in their lives as advocates and decision-makers. Communities benefit as parents use their tools of democracy in civic initiatives.

The course ends with a local graduation celebration and a statewide graduation where participants receive diplomas from the Secretary of the State.

Free dinner and childcare are provided during the scheduled class times

To learn more or register, please contact Meredith Starr, Program Coordinator, at, or call us at (860) 291-1741.