Parents have many reasons for joining the Policy Council. Sometimes, staff may ask if they are interested. Other times, parents might want to join after being on a parent committee. Let's explore how to make the decision to join the Policy Council.
Read the scenario below.
Yesterday, when Richie dropped off his daughter, Celine, at her classroom, Sandra, a family service worker, asked if he would like to serve on the program's Policy Council.
When he asked why, Sandra answered, "You seem to be very involved in your daughter's life. I wondered if you might be interested. Also, it would be great to have a father on the Council. You could help all of the children in the program. Think about it. Let me know next week."
Richie is flattered by the offer but a little confused. He has heard about the Policy Council. He doesn't know much about it. He isn't sure what he can offer. Richie feels nervous. He has a lot of questions to ask Sandra.
Like Richie, many parents have questions about joining the Policy Council. See some common questions below. You may have other questions. Remember, every question is important. Talk with program staff to help you learn about the Policy Council.
Common Questions About Joining the Policy Council
Why are you asking me to consider joining the Policy Council? What can I offer?
The Policy Council represents parents' voices and perspectives to guide decisions about the program. Policy Councils welcome parents and family members from all backgrounds and family structures. They may be mothers and fathers of all ages, grandparents, foster or adoptive parents, or other important adults in a child's life.
You are being asked because you are the most important teacher in your child's life. Staff value your ideas about how to best serve all the children in the program.
What do I need to know before I join?
What's most important is that you want to help your program provide a positive learning experience for your child and other children. Once you are elected, you will receive training about how your Policy Council works. Some things that the group may discuss in Policy Council meetings are decisions about program policy, budgets, center activities, and hiring staff.
When and where do the meetings take place?
Policy Councils typically meet monthly at the program. When they meet varies. Some programs hold meetings during the day. Others hold them in the evenings. Meals are usually provided. Child care is offered. Some programs assist with transportation or arrange for members who live far away to attend remotely.
Programs also can provide interpretation services. Be sure to let your program know of anything you need to make it easier to attend meetings.
Take a moment to reflect on each question:
- What questions or concerns do you have about joining the Policy Council?
- Who can you talk with to help answer your questions?
- What else can your program do to help you decide whether to join the Policy Council?
- What is the Policy Council?
- Serving on the Policy Council
- Leaving the Policy Council
- Download the PDF for All Tip Sheets
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: September 1, 2023