The VIVA team are true specialists in the field of early childhood. When Help Me Grow came to us for support with their Family Landscape Analysis, we were excited to support the research behind strengthening their programs. We determined that to create the best programs for children, we needed to help them build meaningful engagement opportunities for parents.
So, you have created opportunities for family engagement, but how do you continue to grow and expand this new structure you have built? Family engagement structures face a lot of barriers (trust us, we know!). Right now, your family engagement structures might be in their infancy. And, just like children in their infancy, family engagement structures need support in their earliest stages to grow big and strong! Here are 5 ways we recommend enhancing your family engagement practices:
Meaningful family engagement must be a core value of the leadership and staff team in early intervention systems.
As system leaders and implementers, define and create opportunities for families to participate in decision-making, testing, design, and leadership components.
Parent and family partnerships must be intentional.
Plan for and resource this work as a key component of the system, including the development of strategies and protocols for engaging families, family compensation and capacity building, mentoring, and ongoing support to enable families to participate meaningfully. Creating partnerships with others who have a larger percentage of high-risk families might be a good access point to engage families, such as WIC and Early Start Family Resource Center, parent advocacy, and home visiting programs.
Leverage existing frameworks, community partnerships, and parent networks to maximize and build upon their efforts, and to ensure alignment with ongoing parent and family partnership work.
Invest in professional development to increase knowledge about the value of parent and family partnerships.
Prioritize regular reflection and assessment of the success and challenges of parent and family partnership, in order to continually
For our clients, this has opened up a world of real parent-centered leadership.
Consistent, sustainable family engagement takes hard work, but so many clients already know that. What is harder is carving out the space for this work consistently. We can help you hit the ground running and build the capacity you need to invest in this work and truly transform.