Family Engagement Services
Family Engagement Vision Statement and Values
Building Systems that Work for Families
VECF’s vision: Every Ready Region creates opportunities for families to offer guidance and input in early childhood decisions that matter most to them.
“It’s a relief to see initiatives finally include the people that it’s meant to help. This feels like the future and a step in the right direction.”
Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. The parent/family perspective is essential to identify barriers to and solutions for obstacles families face when trying to access equitable and high-quality early childhood services.
Parents have a unique understanding of what’s best for their children and have the right to participate in every decision that directly affects them, their families, and their communities. Parents are essential and valued partners at every level of the early childhood system — in programs and systems development work at the community and state levels.
Families should be included and involved in ways that are purposeful, results-oriented, and respectful of family needs, schedules, and circumstances.
Family engagement must represent the diverse perspectives across communities and regions, especially those families who may not always be heard or have access to opportunity. Engagement will reflect understanding that accessing resources to support early childhood experiences, such as childcare subsidy, WIC, TANF, Medicaid, etc., shows resilience and should be destigmatized.
What is the Foundation First Family Council?
Foundation First Family Council creates opportunities for families to offer guidance and input in early childhood decisions that matter most to them. Families will have the opportunity to collaborate with other families within our region, have a voice in decision-making, raise awareness of the needs and concerns they experience with their children, and connect families with community resources.
Through virtual monthly meetings, they engage and have the opportunity to participate in fun activities all while elevating the family voice!
Family Engagement Focus Areas
A well-defined and impactful Family Council begins with clear principles that articulate the region’s family engagement priorities, frame the council’s purpose, and communicate the depth of commitment to family voice.
Establishing a strong Family Council will require Ready Regions to consider what structure and practices will work for all families in the region. Factors such as compensation norms, a clearly defined council purpose, responsibilities, and other infrastructure decisions are integral to cultivating an environment in which parents will contribute confidently.
Once principles and the Family Council structure are in place, a recruitment plan that confirms strategies that engage a variety of parents is essential in order to ensure that a diversity of backgrounds and experiences are being represented in the Family Council.
An environment that is comfortable–with intentional planning that facilitates participation and engagement of participating families–is needed to assure that families speak up and participate. Consider the physical barriers that can hinder involvement and meet them with proactive solutions, so that your families feel they belong in the council and are prepared for the task at hand.
Every parent’s time is valuable. Retain council participation through well-planned meetings and processes, and by emphasizing the impact and value of parent contributions.
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Want to learn more about Family Engagement?
Click the button below to explore the full FAMILY COUNCIL MODEL GUIDE to learn more about common terms, best practices, tips for implementation, indicators of success, and more.