Families want the best for their children. And they look for early childhood professionals that they can trust to provide the best care.
State early childhood leaders can build upon these expectations and goodwill to develop effective family engagement policies, programs and services.
Family engagement programs need to demonstrate authenticity, commitment, and concern for a family’s children and for the community in which they live.
Early childhood professionals also need to keep in mind that building trust takes time. This is especially true for families that have had negative experiences with health and educational institutions in the past.
The BUILD Initiative works with states to develop family engagement strategies that:
- Are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
- Place families at the center of decision-making.
- Are flexible enough to be tailored to the needs of diverse communities.
BUILD Initiative national and state leaders acknowledge the family engagement guidelines detailed by the National Center for Cultural Competence:
- Seek to have staff that reflect the diverse families with whom they work.
- Reach out to and build relationships with "cultural brokers" who will help program staff navigate within diverse communities.
- Be explicit about the desire to reach, serve, support and be led by families from diverse backgrounds.
BUILD Michigan is has been involved in the family engagement program, Parents Partnering for Change. With its two-hour training curriculum, the program seeks to provide parents with leadership and policy-making skills. This enables them to provide a first-hand perspective on early care and education issues in state government initiatives. The target audience of the state initiative is parents with children birth-18, who have disabilities or special needs.
August 21, 2013 Webinar – Families Know Best:
Integrating Parent Knowledge into Young Child Assessment Systems
Presenters: Lindsey Allard Agnamba and Charles Bruner