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  • 1

    PARENT, FAMILY, AND

    COMMUNITY

    ENGAGEMENT

  • 2

    PARENT, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN HEAD START AND

    EARLY HEAD START

    Table of Contents

    Introduction 3

    Philosophy 4

    Goals 4

    Key Competencies 5

    General Guidance for All Staff 5

    Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect 5

    Personal Loans 5

    References 5

    Subpoenas and Court Appearances 6

    Death of an Immediate Family Member or of an Enrolled Child 6

    Family Literacy 7

    Head Start Family Service Staff Responsibilities 8

    Addressing Attendance Concerns 8

    Health Requirements 8

    Childcare and Subsidy 9

    Home Visits – Home Based Head Start 9

    Home Visits – Center Based Head Start 9

    Substantial Contacts

    Family Outcomes and Support Planning Instrument (FOSPI)

    9

    9

    Family Partnership Agreements 10

    When a Parent Opts Out of the FPA Process 11

    Goal Setting 11

    Transitions from Early Head Start 11

    Transitions between Programs 12

    Transitions to Kindergarten 12

    Family Services Events 12

    End of Year Celebrations 15

    Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) 15

    Head Start Policy Council (HSPC) 15

    HSPC Emergency Fund 16

    PAC By-Laws 17

    HSPC By-Laws 20

    Professional Documentation 27

    Family Service Program Information Report (PIR) Questions 28

    Community Partnerships 30

  • 3

    Introduction

    Parent, family, and community engagement in Head Start/Early Head Start is guided by several

    Performance Standards, including: 1302.50-1302.53 Family and Community Engagement Program

    Services, 1301 Program Governance, and 1302.100-1302.103 Program Management and Quality

    Improvement. Additionally, Performance Standards 1302.34, 1302.41, and 1302.46 relay the necessity of

    engaging parents around the health, development, and education of their child.

    Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) works towards a goal that every child is ready for school and

    sustains learning gains through the third grade. In order to effectively do so, Reach Dane recognizes the

    importance of recognizing the parent’s role as their child’s first and best teacher. Successful parent

    engagement impacts every aspect of Agency programming, influences the work of other anti-poverty

    programs, and brings about changes in the communities in which our families live.

    In 2011, the Office of Head Start introduced the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE)

    Framework as a road map for integrating family engagement throughout the whole Agency. Reach Dane

    has wholeheartedly embraced the PFCE Framework as a guide for the work we do to engage families and

    ensure that children have successful learning experiences.

  • 4

    Philosophy

    At Reach Dane, family engagement is the responsibility of every member of the organization. Each

    person, within their role, has the capacity to influence and support the growth and development of

    children and families. Staff who provide direct services to parents are in the unique position to help

    families develop and achieve goals for themselves and their families.

    It is expected that all staff members recognize, support, and celebrate the dignity and worth of each

    individual we serve. Families are offered an array of services and support that best meet the needs of

    their individual situation. Families are encouraged to be active participants in their child’s education

    through home visits, volunteering in the classroom, and working with their child individually at home.

    Additionally, parents are encouraged to act as leaders on the local level through their Parent Advisory

    Committee (PAC) or at the agency level through the Head Start Policy Council (HSPC).

    Parent participation is NOT a mandatory condition of a child’s enrollment in Head Start. While staff

    should continue to offer support, services, and resources to all families, they must be cognizant that not all

    families are in place to access them. Every child, regardless of parent participation, can benefit from the

    positive classroom environment that is offered.

    It is also important for staff to understand that lasting change can only occur within the context of a

    relationship. By building strong, positive, and goal-oriented relationships with families, direct service

    staff have the opportunity to foster positive outcomes for parents and their children.

    Goals

    The Family Services department focuses on achieving the following goals with all families:

    1. Partner with families to develop Family Partnership Agreements that identify strengths, resources

    and needs in order to form meaningful family goals

    2. Identify, partner, and collaborate with community organizations that offer services that will

    enhance family well-being and self-sufficiency

    3. Ensure that families are aware of and able to access community resources

    4. Assist families in transitioning between EHS and HS and from HS to kindergarten to ensure that

    learning gains are maintained

    5. Support families to meet required health screenings and follow-ups so children are healthy and

    available for learning

    6. Provide opportunities for parents to connect with their peers and build a sense of community

    among program participants

    Additionally, family services staff play a key role in recruitment activities to ensure that all eligible

    families are aware of, and able to engage in, our services.

  • 5

    Key Competencies

    All Reach Dane staff members, particularly those who have specific family services responsibilities, are

    expected to demonstrate the following competencies in their interactions with families:

    1. Empathy – listen and communicate accurately and with sensitivity to the feelings and experiences

    of the other person. Parents are more likely to consider other options when they feel their

    experience is viewed as equal and valid.

    2. Authenticity – be yourself. While it’s important for each member of the staff to have boundaries,

    it is equally important to share your unique gifts, talents, and experiences with families.

    3. Acceptance – recognize that each person has their own values and priorities, even when they

    differ from your own values or priorities.

    4. Objective – when relaying information about a child or family it is important to do so without

    personal feelings, opinions, or biases.

    5. Specific- work with families to identify goals and develop clear, concrete steps for achieving

    them.

    6. Competent – don’t be afraid to ask for help from your supervisors and colleagues. Asking for

    help can be a positive role modelling experience for families and is a sign of strength.

    7. Reflective – think about the work that you do and how you might be more effective.

    8. Empowering – recognize the family’s role as a senior partner in setting priorities. You are there

    to support and advise as needed.

    General Guidance for All Staff

    Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect

    All Reach Dane employees are mandated to report any suspicions of abuse or neglect of a child in

    accordance with Reach Dane policies and Wisconsin State Law. Following a report to Human Services,

    families may need additional assistance or support from agency staff. For further guidance, please see the

    Child Abuse and Neglect policy (located in the Child Development section of this book) or contact the

    Mental Health Manager.

    Personal Loans

    The families we serve are living in poverty and can face a financial crisis at any time. Staff may not

    give money to a parent/family at any time regardless of the circumstance or level of need. In these

    situations staff should work with families to identify community resources that might be available.

    Additionally, the HSPC has created an emergency fund to address these types of issues that staff may

    access on behalf of a family. Please see the Emergency Fund Policy later in this section for further

    guidance.

    References

    Staff should be cautious when asked for a letter of reference and should consider whether they can offer a

    knowledgeable or fair reference. If you feel that writing a letter on behalf of a parent would be

  • 6

    appropriate, discuss the request with your supervisor. In general, staff should not provide employment

    references. Exceptions may be made in consultation with the FE Managers. Any letters sent on behalf of

    a family should be approved by your supervisor prior to sending. A copy should be placed in the child’s

    master file.

    Subpoenas and Court Appearances

    Reach Dane will comply with all city, county, state, and federal laws. Therefore, in accordance with

    these laws, the agency will cooperate with and adhere to all subpoenas s