Family Economic Mobility Toolkit

Preparing Staff for FEM Work

Supporting families with financial stability and economic mobility goals is central to the Head Start purpose, and it is vital for program leaders to prepare and support their staff for this role.

Focus on relationship building.

The Family Partnership Process is a family-centered journey where Head Start staff have a supportive role, partnering with families to build on their strengths and interests, and support their needs. While they are not expected to be experts on finances, staff can partner with families by building positive, goal-oriented relationships to contribute to positive family and child outcomes. Families are more likely to make progress on family economic mobility goals when staff respect family’s cultures, recognize the expertise families bring, and offer a confidential and trusting space for families to share their experiences. Learn more through the following resources:

Support staff so they can better support families.

Staff will be more likely to support families in making progress toward their goals when staff feel respected and valued by program leaders and peers. By supporting staff who support families through the parallel process, program directors and managers can offer ongoing opportunities for professional development, reflective supervision, coaching, peer support, and staff wellness opportunities. Learn more about supporting staff through the following resources:

Help staff build knowledge around family economic mobility and pursue their own related goals.

Staff may want opportunities to build their own knowledge about personal finance, pursuing education, and charting career pathway to feel more confident engaging in conversations and goal-setting with families. Program leaders can use a number of existing free resources to provide training and equip staff with the tools and information they will need, starting with this FEM Toolkit. In addition to this Toolkit, staff can explore additional learning opportunities related to Building Foundations for Economic Mobility.

Identify what supports and trainings make the most sense for your staff by asking them! Start by learning more about what staff already know. Ask how comfortable staff are in talking with families about family economic mobility topics. Use what staff say to inform training and professional development plans for the year.

Learn more about reflective supervision.