What Is Community Engagement?
Community engagement refers to the mutually respectful, strengths-based relationships between Head Start and Early Head Start staff and families, community members, and agencies. These relationships support parents' roles as valued community members and their progress toward their goals for themselves and their children. Community partners can work with families and program staff toward such goals as parents' educational advancement, economic mobility, and other aspects of family well-being.
Head Start and Early Head Start staff actively seek out and respond to community voices, strengths, and needs. Staff know their communities, and many are members of the communities they serve. They collaborate with families, community members, and other local agencies to identify common goals, align resources, and share data for continuous improvement and effective partnerships.
What Are Engaged Community Partnerships?
Engaged community partnerships are supportive relationships between programs and other community agencies. These relationships can be between individuals or groups. Partners value and nurture relationships. Each partner looks for ways to strengthen the partnership. Partners seek to understand each other's goals, perspectives, strengths, and challenges.
Communication between community partners is regular and responsive. The goals of each partner are best met through their work with each other. Together, they share leadership and assess effectiveness to inform continuous learning and improve the quality of their partnership.
The Engaging Community Partners to Strengthen Family Services series guides program efforts to strengthen child and family outcomes in line with the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework and the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS).
Explore the resources in the Engaging Community Partners to Strengthen Family Services series below.
Find out how programs can enhance community engagement and partner with families.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs can work with community partners to make progress toward positive outcomes for children and families. Effective community engagement strengthens family services and supports. This resource describes how programs can identify strategies and actions to address three priorities for community engagement. Learn how to partner with families to make connections with other families and access community resources. Explore steps to strengthen community partnerships.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: February 4, 2020