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Family Engagement

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a Guidance Document on Family Engagement from the early years to the early grades.

Strong family engagement is central in promoting children's healthy development and wellness, including:

  • social-emotional and behavioral development;
  • preparing children for school;
  • seamlessly transitioning them to kindergarten; and
  • supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond.

The guidance document:

  • Highlights the research that supports effective family engagement in children's learning, development and wellness;
  • Identifies core principles of effective family engagement practices from HHS' and ED's family engagement frameworks;
  • Provides recommendations to states, Local Education Agencies (LEAs), schools and community-based early childhood programs for implementing effective family engagement practices; and
  • Highlights resources for states, LEAs, schools, and early childhood program to build capacity to effectively partner with families.

Families are children’s first, longest lasting, and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. Positive parenting and strong family engagement is central-- not supplemental-- to promoting children’s healthy development and wellness. This includes social-emotional and behavioral development; preparing children for school; seamlessly transitioning them to kindergarten; and supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond. Families’ engagement in children’s learning at home and in early care and education programs can impact lifelong health, developmental and academic outcomes.

Early care and education teachers and providers play a central role in partnering with families on their children’s learning and development. ACF is pleased to announce three new resources that can inform early childhood programs, networks, and States in their work to partner with and support families with young children using evidence-informed approaches.

Find out more about parent, family and community engagement.

On May 28, 2020 ACF and HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau issed a Dear Colleague Letter:

Letter excerpt:  "Across the country, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of our daily lives. This is a challenging time for many families and communities. For parents and caregivers with limited resources and supports, the pandemic has exacerbated the uncertainty, stress, and isolation for the most vulnerable children and families living in poverty. The intent of this letter is to encourage family support, maternal and child health, and early childhood programs (including Head Start, home visiting, early intervention, and other early care and learning programs) to promote family strengthening and prevention strategies via virtual, electronic, telephonic, or other safe means during the COVID-19 pandemic."

 

Last Reviewed: November 3, 2020