The goal of parent and family engagement is to work with families to build strong and effective partnerships that can help children and families thrive. These partnerships are grounded in positive, ongoing, and goal-oriented relationships with families. The relationships are based on mutual respect and trust. They are also developed over time, through a series of interactions between staff and families.
Successful relationships focus on families’ strengths. They build on a shared commitment to the child’s well-being and success. As relationships between staff and families grow stronger, mutually respectful partnerships are built. Strong partnerships with families contribute to positive and lasting change for families and children.
Explore these resources to learn strategies to strengthen relationships with families.
Building Partnerships with Families Course
Family services professionals and other staff who work with families can explore this four-part learning course to enhance their knowledge and practice about engaging families using strengths-based attitudes, relationship-based practices, and reflective practice. The course is available on the Individualized Professional Development (iPD) Portfolio.
Parent Tips for Effective Family Engagement
Programs can use this resource, created in partnership with parents, to guide the development of their family engagement strategies and parent leadership opportunities.
Building Partnerships: Guide to Developing Relationships with Families
Learn about the importance of building positive goal-oriented relationships with families. Explore the role these relationships play in effective parent, family, and community engagement and school readiness. Find key definitions, tools, and guides for reflective practice and supervision.
Strategies for Family Engagement: Attitudes and Practices
In this guide, find out how family engagement and practice strategies are key to building relationships with families. Learn how to use strengths-based attitudes to work with families toward building a positive relationship, despite the challenges that may come up. This tool can also support training in reflective practice and supervision.
Family Engagement and Cultural Perspectives: Applying Strengths-Based Attitudes
Learn about the ways that understanding families’ cultural perspectives can help to build positive relationships. Find out how working with families in this way can strengthen family engagement efforts. Use this tool as a part of training in reflective practice and supervision.
Partnering with Families of Children Who Are Dual Language Learners
Explore how to partner with families of children who are dual language learners. Learn ways staff can build these partnerships and help children be healthy and successful in school and in life.
Cultural Perspectives in Caregiving: Applying Relationship-Based Practices
Providing culturally and linguistically responsive practices requires that leaders, caregivers, and staff reflect on their own cultural beliefs and assumptions. Explore this series of vignettes to find ways to reflect on your understanding of cultural perspective-taking. Apply what you learn about yourself to develop a collaborative and responsive practice in your work with families.
Preparing for Challenging Conversations with Families
Sometimes it is difficult to know how to discuss a challenging topic with a family. This resource provides ways to prepare and engage families when conversations include challenging topics. These conversations can strengthen relationships and build trust.
Engaging with Families in Conversations About Sensitive Topics
In this resource, find tips and approaches to help staff talk with families about sensitive topics.
Talking with Families About Their Child's Development
Explore strategies around talking with a family about their child's development to strengthen your partnerships.
Guidance for Supervisors: Using a Strengths-Based Approach
Supervisors and managers can use this resource as a guide to support staff in using a strengths-based approach in their work with families.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: April 14, 2023