Goal-Setting: Deepening Practice
Brandi Black-Thacker: Well, hello friends. Come on in, come on in and sit down with us. How are you guys doing today? Welcome today to ... We're so excited to be back with you guys, and good morning, welcome, and we are so excited after our experience together yesterday, that we just could not wait to get back together this morning. So, we have a couple of announcements to make, based on some questions you guys had yesterday.
We officially want to say ... Da, da, nah, nah! Day 2 is upon us. So, couple of things. No 1, yesterday, several of you had problems getting your certificate. We had a little techno hiccup from the opening plenary, and what we've been able to do is, first of all, let me say, fear not my friends. We have you covered and we have it figured out. If you have any trouble getting your certificate yesterday from the opening plenary session, you can go back into your engagement hub for that session, and you should be able to click on that certificate widget, and you should be able to pull it down from there. So, we wanted to make sure you had that information, so that you can go back and make sure that you have all the proper documents that you wanted to have your hands on. So, thank you for letting us know that you were having some trouble. We were able to investigate and thankfully come up with a solution, so we should have everything that you need together for that.
The other part is, several of you really appreciated what we lovingly call the RAP handout. The reflection and plan, RAP handout, and we have moved those into the hub also for you in case you want to download those to use them for future conversations back at your program, so those are now all in the hub as well, and categorized in a section that's just for them. So, you should be able to draw those down as well, and use those as you are so inspired
So ... with that, and I have to say guys, I mean, it was like the home week yesterday and I didn't think it could feel like home week when you're virtual but so many of you, we've grown to know and love over almost a decade, you know, at the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, so when you're speaking to us on the Q&A widget, we just get so excited to see you, and to hear your words, and to collect your reflections. Yesterday was just such an inspiration for me personally and for our team, and we hope for you too, so thank you for spending time with us, not only yesterday but certainly today and thank you for everything that you do. With that I have the distinct honor of being able to not only welcome you this morning, but I also get to hang out with a bunch of my most favorite folks, and I'm just going to show you who they are. I get to be with all the doctors today, everybody. Do you hear me? All the doctors.
So, you'll see on the screen, and they're going to introduce themselves to you in a little bit more detail here soon, but I just want you to see who you're going to get to think with, and talk to and share ideas around today. On the screen you see left top is Dr. Jennifer Olson, below her is Dr. Jomur Sayeed, off to her right is Dr. Catherine O'Brian, and there's me [Laughter] in the top right-hand corner. And that's Brandi Black-Thacker, for those of you that I haven't had the honor to meet yet, I'll introduce myself right here. I'm the Director of Training, Technical Assistance, and Collaboration for the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. And this has been a long time dream I know we told you guys this yesterday, a long time dream realized, to be with exactly this group, exactly this moment, and we're just so tickled to get to share in this space and time.
I'm just going to give you a quick little tour of the console. So many of you got to experience this yesterday. You know where the hot spots are. You guys love to have the media player, which is top left-hand side. That's where you see each of the speakers and that's where you see videos that we might show, but the place that we'd love to pull your attention to is that Q&A widget, which, thankfully, many of you have found and use often because we love to talk to you. We're the relationship people, we love to be able to cavort back and forth in chat. Of course, you'll see the slides right there in the middle. Their resources are on the top right.
That's where you can download the PowerPoints, and I do want to underline exclamation-point that one, because many of you had that question yesterday, "Do we get the PowerPoints?" And I would say we got you covered. It's over there in that resource widget and you can download the handouts that coincide with each of the sessions there. And sometimes we even have a URL in there for you to tinker around in. Below that, you'll see the speaker bios, so if you want to learn anymore about those of us who have the honor to be with you, you're welcome to do that there. And then just another side note, as you heard from many of us yesterday, you an actually customize your experience in On24. You can actually expand your widget windows and make it bigger, move them around a little bit. You really do get to take responsibility for your learning and your contribution, which is kind of cool, that you get to individualize the way you receive it. The last thing I'm going to do is show you those last three widgets in that bottom bar, and these are important ones because that's where that certificate check lives, where you can download your certificate. And if you need help, you're welcome to download what we have is a frequently asked questions document, but really we have all kinds of experts on the line if you get stuck with anything technology you can put it in the Q&A widget and we will jump right in to see what we can support you to make your viewing and listening experience pleasurable. So, we're here for you. When we get to the end, and we do the knowledge check and the certificate, we will go through that with you again in detail and will explain that so you have what you need. Again, just a side note, we do recommend that you download the certificate when you get access to it, so not only do you have it electronically, but if you want to print the hard copy for your records you can do that too. So, you know who we are in Head Start. We need to have all the things. What did my mentor tell me when I was a director, she said, you all know it, say it with me: "If you don't document it, it didn't happen." So, we've got you covered.
All right, with that, we have such an exciting series of discussions for you this morning, and if you've ever been in a dialogue with us at the NCPFCE, you know we really do appreciate the exchange. We love it when you interact with us. We're going to bring forth your words that we collect from the Q&A. You'll sometimes think that we push out an answer to everybody so that you can see all the great questions that are being asked, and you'll notice a little bit of our interactions, so please feel free to jump in, and we really do like to follow your lead. So, this is what we put forth before we got the chance to meet you. So, we're going to jump into some discussions around scenarios. So cool, because you guys told us for the longest that you love to be in the real, and that's exactly what we're going to do. We're going to unpack some real situations that happened in real life programs like yours, together, pull it apart and put it back together. So, we're going to think about that through the life cycle of the grand T or C, goal setting, transitions, and we'll bring that forward in the facilitated dialogue. Certainly, we can't have a discussion without strategies.
With that, here’s what the agenda looks like for today. You have a scenario that Dr. Olsen and Dr. Saeed are going to lead you through. That's called We Are In It Together. We're going to take a quick break, and when I say quick I do mean quick, like micro. And then you're going to come back with Dr. O'Brien and myself to think about a scenario, Open Hearts Open Minds. And then the cool part is, we all get to be together for the last piece of this after a second quick break in a session panel that we call Teaching and Learning Together. So, if that's not enough intrigue, you know, I don't know what is. But I want to turn it over, very excitedly, to both doctors, Olsen and Saeed to take it away in our very first scenario called We're In It Together.
Dr. Jennifer Olson: Hey, good morning, Brandi. Hi, I'm so excited to be here, this is Jennifer Olson, and I just wanted to quickly say that I am also with the National Center with the TNTA team, and it's just a thrill to be here with you. I feel just the same way that Brandi did yesterday when I saw all your familiar names. So, excited to get into it. Jhumur, please say hello to everyone.
Dr. Jhumur Saeed: Good morning, this is Jhumur Saeed. I'm with the National Center as well, and I work on the resources team, the resources development team. Really glad to be here and a wonderful follow up to, or I should say, hoping for a great follow up to a wonderful day one. So, ready to go?
Jennifer: We are ready to go, so we're going to start talking about a scenario for you. There's our pretty pictures. And it's called, "We Are in it Together." I'm going to read this with you. I hope some of you have downloaded it and have a chance to look at it last night and think about some of the issues that we're facing in this scenario. But in case it's the first chance that you've had to see it, we're just going to read through it really quickly. So, together, Head Start programs recently reopened after delivering services virtually for several months. We all know what that's like. During a recent management meeting, Mrs. Luna, Center Director of one of the programs, said that her program is trying to increase consistent attendance and struggling to maintain full enrollment. Well, we all know how important this is, isn't it? A critical goal for all Head Start programs to maintain enrollment. So, she goes on and speaks to many parents who said that they're finding it challenging to balance their work and family duties, and some families have returned but are not bringing their children consistently, and other families are not even sure if they're going to really return at all. Jhumur, what's the second part of this?
Jhumur: During the same period, some families relocated to work at a new shopping mall in a town called Duran, which is located about 15 miles from the center. And what's happening now is that about 60% of the families who moved, actually are using the free transportation that is offered by the new supermart, where some of the families work, to get the children to the center, to Ms. Luna's Center. The remaining families are relying on friends and family members to provide care at home. Duran does not have a Head Start Center for families, and there is just one private child care center, which does have a long waitlist. The cost Of Duran, or living in Duran, is high. Apartment rental rates are unaffordable for many of the families who relocated there, forcing multiple families to live together in one bedroom apartments. And so, that's what we have as a scenario. I hope all of you were ready or able to follow. We are going to move to some of the questions that we have for you. These are some questions that we want you to consider, to think about, and then share, using the Q&A widget, your reflections. So, here we go, hope you had a second to take it all in. Here is question one: What are some of the key issues identified in this scenario? What are perhaps some approaches and strategies, given that you have so much expertise, that you could suggest to support the families in the program and the community? And our third question: How can you help the program meet the enrollment and attendance requirements? So, we have these three questions, Jennifer.
Jennifer: Yes. Yes Jhumur, while people kind of think it through, decide which part they're going to answer first and think it through, maybe it would be best to link it back to our goal-setting session that we had yesterday and kind of start with that program goal, whereas yesterday, we started with a family goal and went all the way up to the program goal. Today, maybe we should begin with that broader program goal and begin to take that apart. So, if we would agree, I think all of us would agree that the program goal is consistent attendance, and full enrollment. And so, who might be some of the allies that a family service manager might consider when she realizes this much bigger question for the program? Who might be some of her allies?
Jhumur: Now, Jennifer, I'm going to stop here a second. When you mentioned allies, and allies almost seems distant. You know how it is with words. But yesterday, there were many folks who had many of our participants who brought some interesting thoughts and reflections, and they said, they shared that when you work with families, right, you work beside them. You work in partnerships. You build that relationship. So, our families and our staff are our first allies, and then if you look at the big picture, when you move out, the more macro, our regional office, and our really wonderful T&TA staff, Know, they're right beside you. Consider them your allies. So, Jennifer, any thoughts that you might want to add, like any other allies you might think the program really needs to, or in their role as family service managers, family services staff, need to connect with?
Jennifer: Well of course we think about the other management teams. Certainly they're the members of the management team that we want to always engage with. And then, Jhumur, sometimes we want to remember our Policy Council, the whole leadership, and how Policy Council might help guide what's happening as well as we seek full enrollment. And certainly our families, as you were mentioning, are our first ally, and one of the links to the families is that Policy Council, wouldn't you say?
Jhumur: Absolutely. And you know with the Policy Council, they are a direct connection. I mean we know our families, but the communication and the insights that they offer, really in the scenario but also what's going on in today's world amongst and for our families. What are some of those needs? What are some of those basic needs? And there's a lot of concern. So, they may have this, bringing their children into the Head Start program, and they really want to do that. They're scared for the children. There are issues of safety. So, perhaps addressing that. So, we are meeting that need for their child care, so that families can go to work, but at the same time how can we communicate with the support and help of families and staff, like you said the Policy Council that the safety protocols. Who can we look towards at the regional office, other programs perhaps?
Jennifer: Yes, and I think, Jhumur, we need to examine why the families might not be bringing their children. There might be several reasons. Maybe they're satisfied at home. They're not sure if they want to stay enrolled. They've had an experience during the pandemic that they're really enjoying staying at home, so they want to keep their options open. Other families might be thinking I'm terrified of a whole new experience, I'm very very worried about it, so as a family service manager, we want to be talking to our families find out what concerns there are that might keep them from continuing enrollment, or continue with attendance, and then work with our staff to ensure that information in the correct fashion. Another ally in this whole process is our teaching staff because sometimes families have a really high quality of relationship with the teaching staff, and maybe hearing it's from a trusted teacher that it's safe to go back, we're going to be wearing our masks. We're thinking that those issues making sure that we're communicating them, so again the communication has to go between the family service workers and teachers, and the teachers and family service workers, goes back to the parents and it becomes a feedback loop on what's needed to keep those families enrolled and coming consistently.
Jhumur: And the trust factor, when you're looking at the approaches and strategies, the trust factor. Who are the people that families trust? They trust each other, community leaders, perhaps, our elders in the community. And speaking of the trust factor, we have seen that the families are actually bringing, because they really trust Ms. Lunas staff in the center, they are using the transportation offered by the supermart. And, I know, and we're going to talk about this a bit. Are there any transportation concerns that come up? What do you think, Jennifer?
Jennifer: I think that the chat is filled with them. Yes, the chat is filled with them. There's this whole concern about transportation often is the thing that wags the tail of the dog at Head Start because if transportation isn't working well, and other things fall apart. And this was an alarming thing to many people in the chat. They're saying this is transportation, do the parents come with their children? Are there car seats? Are there seatbelts? Are there other stops that this makes on the way? In the Headstart world, this was such a red flag in this scenario, so what do the family service workers do in these circumstances or the family service manager? Well, of course, we're going to find out right away from the parents, what does that transportation look like? If we hear about it, as a rumor, what is it, really? And, of course, we might engage in a conversation with the supermart as well, saying, just all of the questions that this brings up for our Head Start program. But I find it interesting that it is a strength-based approach, as far as the families. They have come up with a solution, so let's imagine that, they are riding with their children, that there are car seats, and there are seatbelts, and all those things are in place, and we see this as a really strengths-based solution that the families have found and have connected with their employers to actually allow them to bring their children to Head Start.
Jhumur: Right Jennifer, actually, somebody mentioned in the chat, often, and even now concerned with our goals or meeting our goal of enrollment, and then we do want to recruit more families, what an amazing solution that the families in partnership with the community organization, they have come up with, there is this transportation, and perhaps with the support of the program that this transportation meets all those requirements and actually becomes that recruitment tool.
Jhumur: Right? Jennifer Olsen: Yes exactly, Jhumur. I see our time is getting a little bit shorter. I do want to remind everyone that we do have the panel time to return to this case study. We're just touching on it now, but we we'll have time when we all come back together and we can touch on it. But the last issue that Jhumur and I located, that was so essential, was that families are moving to Duran. They are now, some of them are, if you would, living together, in one bedroom apartments. And I think this opens that door to the definition of families experiencing homelessness. I see in our chat that several people are bringing up the fact that, maybe this would be a new path for eligibility, and this would be an opportunity to recruit families, who are experiencing homelessness, who may not already be enrolled in the program, so it will be part of recruitment. But I think it's so important to remember how the family themselves see their situation, and I think there may be some opportunities for looking at that differently, Jhumur, don't you?
Jhumur: Absolutely, I think this was mentioned in the chat as well, the word "partnership." And going back to allies, the partnership that we have with families and, really, this is something that a participant shared yesterday. When a family has a goal ... So, I'm going to digress a bit, but when a family establishes a goal, and so housing stability. Right? So, a participant said what about allowing the family to decide what the outcome is and what that activity is or what that approach is that meets that outcome, that it doesn't have to always come from the program.
So, consider this is a solution perhaps short-term, maybe, but it's working for them now. And then maybe it might change, so the family may seek a different solution for the next year, and might move and want to do something different, and the program supports. So, I think it's really staying with the family, walking beside the family, and really allowing for that leadership to happen. And to be the leader, as a family service staff, manager, but also to really encourage that leadership amongst everyone. So, Jennifer, I think we may have been coming close to where… sorry, Jennifer did you have something you wanted to add?
Jennifer: Just one more quick question, yes, that I want to carry over for the panel, is that the whole notion of sensitive conversations, and recognizing that this may be actually a strengths- based solution, as you were mentioning, Jhumur, on the families part, and so, how do we go about understanding their perspective on their living circumstances? I'd like to return to that during the panel, talk about some of those sensitive conversations that we can have with families, that we support and respect their decisions. I bet it's time for us to go to break now, Jhumur.
Jhumur: Yes, it is, and I do want to remind all of our participants, though it's a break, it's a little different today. Please stay on your url, keep your computers on, the widgets are active, so we all are going to go off the webcam, but we are going to be behind the scenes right there with you. So, if you need to ask a question or communicate, know that the widgets are open. And thank you. We'll see you back for scenario two in five minutes.
Catherine Knowles O'Brien: Hi, everybody, Well, welcome back. I hope everyone took Dr. Bergeron's recommendation to take a deep breath, get a glass of water, use the restroom. And Brandi, while everybody is settling in from the break, I just wanted to share how rich I thought that conversation was for scenario one. I mean, the work that's being done ... It's powerful. I mean, it puts me in a place of awe. It really does. I think about Cathy Abrams opening, where she talked in such inspirational ways, and this conversation just really kept that going and just shows how much you all really hold in your work, and how much you hold families and each other. And Brandi, it just reminds me of the invitation that you made earlier in today's session about all of us staying community, as we go through this together and we work through the scenarios that can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, and having each other to do that is so important, and I know our group has planned some time during our panel discussion to make sure that we can unpack further these scenarios as all of us out there are really thinking about what is this heavy work sometimes, but at the same time celebratory and fun work that we do. And I know everybody's met you before Brandi, and I've I got the distinct honor to work with you on a daily basis, just so glad that were able to do this together, I will take a moment, just to introduce myself. I am Catherine Knowles O'Brien and often, it gets confused, Knowles-O'Brien, so often it's just Dr. Cat. which makes it a lot easier to remember. I work with BFCE. I collaborate on resources that are prepared to help support families and communities, and like Jhumur, and Jennifer and Brandi, I don't think I could be happier than to be here today with everybody. And with that, I think we're going to move right on to scenario 2. And, in this scenario, Brandi, I know you're going to lead us through this, but we're going to meet a family. This family has complex needs. We're going to meet Anna, who's the mother, her child Josh, her boyfriend, Josh's grandmother, Bella, Josh's teacher, and Monique, our family service worker.
And we'd like to ask you as Brandi is summarizing this case study and taking us through it, if you could think to yourself, how might you assist Monique as your family service worker in a way to work with all of the family members in this case scenario? So, with that, Brandi, I'm going to turn this over to you, and we'll go through what this family is experiencing.
Brandi: Gosh, Cat, thank you so much for all of that. And I have to agree, I can't start any kind of conversation without sitting on the space that you've created in gratitude for what we've been able to unpack, in the real, but also the things that we get to ... in-service of the real, to grapple with ... Together we have this incredible National Community Think Tank. So, one of the ways we hope to inspire each other today is to bring forth some of these real life scenarios, so that we can pull it apart and put it back together, together. So, thank you for that lead-in. So, you guys can see what's on the screen here, I'm going to do a little summary for you, and thank you
Cat for introducing everyone to us. And, in this scenario, I really appreciate that this one is called Open Hearts, Open Minds, because there's no other community anywhere that can do the work we do, in the way that we do it, with no judgment and no stigma, so I just appreciate the mind space that that puts me in, straight away. As you guys can see here on the screen, we meet Anna and Joshua, and Anna's the mom, Joshua is her son. They're new to us. They've only been in the program for three months. And in the beginning, she would regularly – Mama, Anna – would chat with the staff when picking up or dropping off Joshua. But for a few weeks, the staff has noticed that the grandmama is being more present and coming to the center. So, what has happened, is that there's some wondering. So, Bella, the teacher, is concerned and maybe wondering, because she's noticed some behavior from Joshua, And you can see how that's described here on the slide, that he's increasingly maybe withdrawn. He has tears. Other than the basic connection that they're making with the grandma in her home language, she hasn't been able to get into a deeper conversation about any concerns or to even ask about Anna, so that's kind of where we start off in the dialogue. Then we turn our attention to what's going on in the program, and you guys know how we do this. It's about forever busting down our own silos and, really, a cross collaboration, so we start to see a little bit about a case management meeting, a bi-weekly one with Bella and Monique, Bella the teacher, Monique. You see the family service worker asked if they'd heard from Mom Anna. Her response was, "No, I haven't. I know she was working to get a job, but maybe she did and she's working nights. Let me find out." So, this is the first part of where we meet the family and where we lean in to hear a little bit about what's happening for the staff and their wonderings and in their connecting with each other. The second part here becomes some of the answers that Monique promised to find. The reality is that Anna couldn't get a job because she was recuperating in the hospital after a fight with her live-in boyfriend. Monique had suspected that something was happening, but she didn't know if Mom was ready to share yet. Remember, this is the early-on relationship, only known them for about three months. So, she also knew, Monique, the family worker knew that Anna was thinking about getting a job so she could more independently provide for herself and Joshua and maybe even grandma. She was enrolled in school, and she thought that she could complete her CDA soon in the hopes of better job, but right now, that dream is on pause as well. So, Cat I want to touch base here with you again. This is a scenario that brings forth a lot of things to think about together, a lot of layers, a lot of complexities, and – let's be honest – a lot of strength here. So, where do you want to lean in first, Cat. What's your feeling?
Cat: Well, I think when you opened this up by saying this idea of just meeting the family only for three months. And how does that really set the context for building a relationship, because if that relationship isn't there ... With what we're seeing in the chat here about building relationships with families. How could we hope to get to a place where the family would feel comfortable letting us know what is really going on in the family? So, starting with that relationship-building, and in three months, what would Monique ... How would Monique do something like that in those three months?
Brandi: Cat, that takes us ... Go ahead …
Cat: No, when you put up the reflection slide, I was thinking that's that second bullet. How do we assist Monique in supporting? But what are you thinking, Brandi? Where are you going with that?
Brandi: Cat, let me claim great minds. I always try to keep up with all these incredibly, wonderfully smart and fancy folks, but that's exactly what I was going. Cat planted the seed. You guys are family managers. You're all leaders in your programs and in your communities, and after hearing a very real scenario like this one, what comes to mind first, about how you would assist Monique to support the entire family? Now I want to get a little ... Well, Cat, I don't want to say controversial, but I want to say stretch and grow, in the stretch and grow space. Because what would you guys say? And let me open the Q&A here, so I can see what you guys are offering, because there are a couple of things you're saying, great job reaching out to mom. It's good to follow the instinct to circle back to her, to follow those kinds of tugs when you have them. It looks like we're getting a lot of ideas about who might be connecting with mom, in terms of our community partners and folks who do safety planning for a living. So, you guys are, of course, already activated into a very real space about what might mom consider.
Cat, I want to ask this question. When I see this notion about, how would you assist Monique to support the entire family? Now remember, Monique is the family worker. I actually want to start with Josh. I want to call him Josh for short. I feel like we're close. [Laughter] And he's the child. Now, Monique is the family worker. So, when I was a Head Start Director, I knew there was all kinds of overlap in how family workers did what they did in the classroom, but how would you guys support Monique to support Josh, for instance, like in their scope and their role as a partner alongside your teaching experts? Yeah, that's such a good question, Brandi, how to do that it. It looks like people are really responding in the chat about how to do that. With Bella, being the teacher in the classroom with Josh ... I'll call him Josh too ... In the classroom with Josh, and how do we work with the relationship that Bella and Anna have, the mom, knowing that that might be in place. So, now you're part of that group of relationships. It's a good question. How would people do that?
Brandi: I see a lot of ideas coming in, Cat, that support what you're saying, I mean everything
from … What I love is like a multidisciplinary team approach, which is ... Well, I would bring in a mental health manager, then we have a mental health consultant, we we have folks who do this kind of work in the classroom for our littlest ones too. It feels very much like you guys are activating in a way that you make sure, I'm noticing too, Cat. The language barrier may be an issue too, and to honor and absolutely extend our connections to Grandmama in her home language. To make sure that she can step into conversations that she might want to honor where she is in the ways that she wants to contribute. Many of you have brought up straight away. I'm also wondering a little bit about, and let's go here because you brought it up ... I see some folks saying, "I'm concerned. I'm worried about the little guy. I'm worried about the mom. Is he safe? What's happening?" So, I think this is absolutely the place your mind should go. And one of the things I want to go back to, in my own reflection, is that Mama hasn't technically shared anything yet. So, one of the things that, in terms of her safety and what's happening with her story is that we have to watch, and lean into her readiness, when she's actually ready to tell us. Now, we kind of discovered, Cat, in a roundabout way, what has happened and now we're aware, it looks like in this scenario, that there were suspecting kinds of thoughts, but that's kind of too, Cat, where my mind is going. How do we support Monique to support Mama, and there are more family members. You guys brought the Grandmama. And Cat, I know you had a wondering when we went through this, together, one of the first times.
Cat: That's right, [Inaudbile] what we talked about, Anna and that relationship, and understanding what the situation means to Anna, and we talked a little bit about Joshua, the baby, and Joshua's grandmother, and Bella, and Monique, but I am more wondering about how, and I'm curious, Brandi, of what you might be thinking, even further after we've reflected on this, about Anna's boyfriend. We haven't really gotten to that yet. Do you have thoughts or thinking on that aspect of ... He's part of the family. He's a live-in boyfriend.
Brandi: Yeah, this is an excellent, excellent question, and you guys might not know this, so let me tell you. We at the National Center on Parents, Family, and Community Engagement have been doing a lot of focus work and dialogue around domestic violence, and one of the things that as a family is ready to share, and as we are able to have these kinds of conversations, that we check in on the opportunity and possibility of what were built to do, which is to have, and Cat I hope it's OK to say it like this, the holistic family approach. And that would include the person that's causing harm, with all the safety considerations in mind, with all of the conversations around readiness. It's kind of like we have to be good investigative reporters in our own right, and really ... I'd love to see it like a relationship, they have a little, the way that they lean in and they lean out as a family member is ready to share or not, and how we support that in the way that we do, with no judgment and no stigma. There are lots of layers here and certainly many many more than we can unpack in this time I know Cat that will get to come back to this exploration also when we join with all four facilitators today in the panel. But the thing I'm also drawn to say, Cat, is the nudge that you offered not only about the boyfriend, but we are not meant to be doing this alone. There are folks, and so when I read the question about how we support Monique with all the family members, my mind automatically also goes to the tie to community, and how did Jhumur and Jennifer say it, I think about allies. Who in the community might be, folks that we can lean to, who do this for a living and who have a very firm and accurate grasp on what's available as the family is ready.
Cat: Yeah. I am so glad you brought up those, Brandi, and I know at some point you'll be reviewing the resources that really address the layers that you're talking about, and the idea that we aren't meant to go for this alone. I mean our participant here even brought up mental health consultants, other members of the community as you just referred to. And the resources that really people can hold on to, managers that can review some of them with the family service workers. It is not meant to be done alone. It is just that that beginning relationship, though, is where it starts. It's almost where that's the budding place, but in order for us to feel confident in taking that next step, we do need to know that we have all these supports behind us, all these resources behind us to make that step. And so, as you said in the panel, we might delve a little deeper into the community aspect, but to always keep in mind that community is key. The teacher, the family service worker themselves, the manager, all of us that are out there that can help support families going through this. And I don't want to put too much of a point on it because I feel like that I keep saying that, but it does begin with building that first relationship, and being able to trust, and actually people are pointing that out in the chat quite a bit, that it starts with trust. It's extremely important.
Brandi: I appreciate the comment, Cat, about trust and as I'm scrolling through some of the chat to bring forth the comments that many of you are offering. I really appreciate a few folks who are saying that this really aligns with how we do around being and trauma informed, and a lot of what we've been thinking about, too, is extending our dialogue around trauma informed, into an encompassing space of healing-centered, and it's really been an interesting paradigm shift to watch and sort of track along with how we are with each other in each of these interactions, to make sure that we can meet families where they are, as we do, but also with some of those individual journeys in mind as we support families in that trajectory they set forth. And, Cat, you said that something about saying things over, but I feel the as we're ready part, as the family is ready can't be underscored here.
Cat: That is pretty major. I did notice that, Brandi, I want to put out for us and for families is that, let’s see here … It is a comment: How can we look at gatekeeping in the communication relationship between family support and others that might be involved with the family. It's a good question. Everybody will be walking this very, in some ways, tension-filled line with each other around the topic, making sure the families, the group that's always in charge of what gets spoken about, what doesn't get spoken about, when we think about confidentiality, but do you have any thoughts about the idea of the sort of this gatekeeping piece that may come up for folks?
Brandi: Yeah, I think this is a really good question, Cat, and honestly, I think I take us back to where you first began with a connection to and through a relationship, and specifically when we're in a dialogue where there are safety wonderings or suspicions, as you know the case scenario said. One of the things that we've often asked permission, and so I go back to this place. We talked about this yesterday even in a couple of the sessions, like the goal setting one and really being able to stand alongside the family as they come into their own understanding of where they want to go and how. It's about asking permission and checking in to see, because each of us come into that dialogue and this experience in a bit of a different way, and so I really am in this place of parallel process, Cat, of like, how we do what we do what we do, in the classroom with the littlest ones, and we individualize those experiences, it feels very much like in situations like these that are very real, very complex, very layered, and very sensitive, that we have the chance to think together with the family, about what their hopes are, and sometimes it's moment by moment. And you guys know how those things shift in real life, so I guess my humble Instinct would be the social worker got activated, in my mind, would just be to stand in conversation to begin with Mama and see where she is and how she's feeling, and then to see separately what we've heard from you guys as we've been doing work in this area is that you might work separately but simultaneously with the boyfriend, if that is not something that Mom is ready to do to bring him in. And then, of course, there are all kinds of questions about the family unit and the definition of family, and many of you are bringing that up in the chat room as well, so lots of layers here. But I want to ask you guys another quick question. Cat, I know we have about five minutes left. That's my little anticapatory nudge. I wonder also, from you guys, what you're thinking about, how this works, in your program, as a family manager one of the things that we've uncovered in this work across the country has been, "Ah! I need to check on my own process." Like, what does happen if we either in this scenario, where we find out about what happened with Anna, the mom? What activates in my program, in terms of supports, process, policy, procedure, and many of you are wondering about that in the chat as well, so as a family manager, one of the things we've heard from folks where we've done longitudinal work over many months in this dialogue, "Gosh, this is the thing that I feel like, an urgency now, because we need to prepare what our responses, before it's an emergency." And so, Cat, I really feel like that's coming up a lot in the chat because you guys continually, as you should, have questions about the safety of the child, the safety of the family members. Should the boyfriend still be in the home? These are all valid wonderings, and when we're having our wonderings, they are our own, right? And a couple of you have even offered nudges toward the difference, and let's kind of stand here for one quick second, between intimate partner violence, which is between adults, and what we are mandated to do for children, which is child abuse and neglect. So, there's a lot of layers here, Cat, and so I bring up that policy piece, unpack with you guys, like, what do you think? What's your process in your program? Do you feel confident that everybody knows where to go and what to say if they need support in this specific layer or others, because honestly we could insert any real-life situation, even this scenario. What kinds of things are you thinking about, with policies procedures, your process? What activates when you find out, that this is information that's happening? So, let's see what comes through, Cat.
Cat: Yeah, and while waiting for that to come through ... That is such a great question. We talked earlier about what we have ready to do, to support our family service workers when this does come through. And the idea of policies and protocols and procedures and being aware of them, and how do we kick into action from a programmatic perspective, is really, really important, for that to take place. And it's something that if it's planned ahead of time, we can feel some comfort in knowing that the anxiety of the situation, when it comes forth, that we have a plan, and that we are ready to move forward with that. And we have that support, and we can help our family service workers move through that conversation once that starts to happen.
Brandi: Well, you know, Cat ... Cat: Yeah, no, go for it.
Brandi: I mean it is exciting, and I'm noticing April has brought forth to us something to consider, which I think is really important. And April I pray that it's OK to take a little bit of liberty with what you said. She said what about encouraging the family to seek extended family support? And I think one of the things that's so important about what I like to call, circles of support, is helping the family unpack who that might include. And often, it's you guys, also extended family of course, community of course, but you guys really are the heartbeat of our communities, and it's one of a thousand reasons why we get so honored to spend this real time and dialogue with you. And Cat, I know that we have ... Just a little anticipatory guidance here. We're going to do another quick break. Is that right?
Brandi: We're going to take another quick five-minute break here in just a little bit, and then we're going to review some of the comments that came in, because there are so many, so that we can reflect on that with you and what will happen after the break is that we’ll come together in that session, as promised from this morning, called Teaching and Learning Together. And we'll get to continue to unpack both of these scenarios in a way that brings forth some strategies, your thoughts and ideas. So, for the greater good we can all have the benefit of this think tank. So, Cat let's stay tuned for that right?
Cat: That sounds great. I'll see you in five. Brandi: See you then, guys. Thank you so much. Cat: All right.
Brandi: Hello, friends. Welcome back. I hope you had a moment to have a little stretch, a little fresh air, whatever brings you joy your rejuvenation, and we are now back for the third and final part of our time together today, which is a panel of sorts, where we get to continue to unpack and reflects on the two scenarios that we have been thinking about together already. So, what we'd like to do is bring Dr. Jennifer Olsen and Dr. Jhumur Saeed back. Don't you all love this set of pictures? [Laughter] It's what this week feels like a little bit with all of the wonders we get to bring together, and the animals, that's one of the things that brings me joy. So, what we're going to bring, Dr. Jennifer Olson, Dr. Jhumur Saeed back to review some of the comments that you've been bringing forth in the Q&A widget, and Cat and I will follow to discuss a little bit of the remaining time on that second scenario, Open Hearts and Open Minds. So, Jennifer, Jhumur, what did you discover over there in the chat?
Jennifer: Well, if I can jump in first, I saw some similarities, and I wanted to touch on it because we spoke about it as we were ending our scenario, but I heard so many people talk about holding each other close when we have these conversations, and how to be have these conversations and keep families in our hearts. I noticed in the chat: How do we talk with Monique? How do we build that trust about interaction with her so that she feels comfortable sharing this information with us? I also saw some comments about the grandma. How do we have conversations, where there may be difficulties in communicating, but how much pain the grandma must be feeling right now too, and how do we open those doors, so those communications can happen? I think about our families, in Duran, that are living together, that are struggling with transportation. How do we have a sensitive, welcoming, respectful conversation? And I'm struck with some of the comments from earlier yesterday, Brand,i when we talked about listening and staying in place and saying, "I hear you, I hear you." And that is sometimes a place to start, isn't it? Listening to hear rather than listening to respond or come up with the solution, and so I see that common thread through both the wonderful, wonderful comments, and the Q&A. And the other thought I had, was the comments on empathy. As Leaders, one of the major concerns or major attributes of the leaders, that we respect, is trust and empathy, and Dr. Richard talked to us so much about those important qualities as leaders. And so when we tie all this together, so many of the Q&As had just fantastic solutions, and many people talked about, how to get to that solution. Which I think is so important for us to revisit today.
Jhumur: For sure, Jennifer, I was looking at the chat and the wonderful contributions, and really detailed, rich contributions that our participants were making, and this piece about building trust, the relationship, and how important that is when our families enter our program, and we engaged with them. And I think it is because, as many pointed out, whether it was a scenario where we met the program, where they were facing enrollment issues ... The trust that families have in us, have in the program, a few participants mentioned we were concerned or the parents were conerned about health and safety. And what could be the solutions? So, stepping back and taking that breath, and really, the relationship building would come in play, of course, and the trust that they would have, and then, you would look towards your allies. But then, if you're looking for some strategies, we had a suggestion about virtual tours, mock videos, that you could post maybe on social media. So, along with our safety protocols, what is that visual that you could offer them to build that for the trust? And I think, families really respond when you have a discussion with them, and so I was so encouraged with that idea of allowing them to, they can perhaps not really walk through the doors, but how can they get a window into what is going on? So, it's not just a big list of policies and procedures and safety protocol. But actually seeing it, actually hearing from another parent what's going on.
Jennifer: Exactly, and we were talking about this with some child care and Head Start programs, actually having a virtual tour because, as you know, some of our families will be handing their child off at the door with someone taking their temperature. And so, when we think about trust, and that sense of, is this safe? And so, some programs were suggesting having a little virtual camera follow the child in, and through the program, into their teacher, which they know they trust and then some Head Start, some people were putting in the chat, "Maybe it's better to wait until the child is settled." [Laughter] Because what might happen? So, when we construct ideas, we always have to think about what happens with children in our programs, but I love the idea of the virtual or texting the families with their permission during the day, about what's happening with their child. Another one that I saw was a home-based option. I don't remember if we mentioned that, Jhumur, but several people were mentioning, could we look at families that were uncertain, they would stay enrolled, if the program did have a home- based option already or if they couldn't transfer slots, that might be something they talked with the regional manager about or their federal officer about. Would that be an option for those families, that were really uncertain about coming back but wanted definitely to stay in the program. Did you see some other things Jhumur?
Jhumur: Well, I'm going to, actually connect with that home-based option, and there was this suggestion about home-based learning. So, could the families borrow some devices? And I know this had come up yesterday during the scenario on a family member accessing a computer that the program provides. Then in scenario 2, Monique needing that access maybe to do some courses. So, really considering, what our community resources? Who can you connect with to avail of those devices? If you don't already have some, but really on a loaner basis, but how important it is in our world today to have that connectivity. So, Jennifer anything else?
Jennifer: Thank you, Jhumur. We're talking back and forth as we naturally would, but that little timing gap. Some people also reminded us of the partners on the management team and the ERSEA person, and definitely that would be the person you'd be working with consistently as the family services manager, but sometimes they do wear that same hat, often they are responsible for enrollment and recruitment as well as family services, so it can be the same person.
Jhumur: Sorry, I know we do this, the dance is not working in the virtual world, but didn't want to forget the health specialists and the health services team. Somebody brought that for us, and I'm like yes of course the health services yes, and we are all in this together right? That's where we are. We are really in it together, and I think we have seen this across the country.
This happened. So, please go ahead Jennifer.
Jennifer: Thank you Jhumur, let's talk a moment to hear from Brandi and Cat, what they've been seeing in their chat and then come again with other issues.
Cat: Sure, so Brandi, see if this is what you're seeing too. I would just offer that a lot around communication, standing in relationship when we talked about branching out to all family members, getting the support where we need, making sure any cultural variations are addressd and developing these relationships, how can we stand together to keep our community? I mean, Jennifer, you started out by holding close to those that we are creating these relationships with but also with those with whom we already have relationships in communities. So, we're seeing, and Brandi I’ll hand it over to you to see if you see this and other things, but a lot around that communication and making sure that with each family member there is some communication, but to be sure that the layer of safety is in place, resources are used community relationships are addressed, are taking advantage of, and what I mean by that is if we know someone or programmatically if we have good relationship, and if we don't, to start to get those policies and protocols in place where we can begin those relationships to get those in place for our families. But Brandi, would you add anything, or do you see things differently than I was just thinking about them?
Brandi: I don't see things differently, Cat, and as a matter of fact you, we, me [Laughter] all of the pronouns, have support in the chat for what you were saying. I'm seeing comments like from Darlena that says we have to keep encouraging Monique to make sure that she is keeping that connection with a smile to be that person that is present as the family members are ready so that connection exists through, and that's why I love this notion of Open Minds Open Heart. That were here when you're ready for us and we'll sort of lean back when you need some space, but we're here. And, Cat, there's a piece of this that I wanted to bring forward to because so many of you have expressed it to us as we've been thinking with you around the country and given the pandemic, you've been hearing and seeing things that, and Jhumur, Jennifer you've brought this up, how might this service change in a time when we are doing things and the physically distanced way? So, Cat, even when I'm thinking about your question, when we have community, and that's critical. That's another comment I wanted to scroll up and pull out. You guys said, "You're right. Not only do we have to build trust and the relationship, but it's in all those layers of the child and each family member and the community." And one of you followed up with, yes, and we should not do this alone. We should have experts in our community who do nothing but teach us the difference between, for instance, child abuse and neglect, and intimate-partner violence which happens between adults and where we fall in.
Cat, the other part that came up that I really really appreciated and I'm scrolling feverishly to try and give credit where it's due. It was this notion to what I said earlier about multidisciplinary team approach but it's almost like a mental health core support team where folks come together to think in a confidential space around these kinds of matters. What you said, like what are our policies and procedures support? But is this a moment when we need to move forward in a particular way? Given our safety concerns and thinking about what we mentioned around checking in with the family and asking permission and constantly being that individualizing barometer where we need to be, and how we can do that dance in a way that always brings us closer. I guess that's a visual I have.
Cat: Yeah, oh, that is a rich visual. I understand what you're describing, and I really can see that. And I know that we just have about two more minutes to wrap up this session, but one question that we did get was: How to we strike that balance between relationship development and safety? And, I guess the reason I want to make sure we don't let that go is because that is key, that is critically important and working closely with the supports that are in place, and those who are in the community that can bring forth how we do that, that we tap those relationships. Would you add anything to that, Brandi, Jennifer, or Jhumur? Brandi, can you think about how do we win that balance between safety and relationship? Because that is key.
Brandi: It is. It is absolutely key, and I think it really is an opportunity for us to check in with each other. And Cat, when I say check-in, sometimes let's just be real; sometimes it just feels like lip service. So, for me it would sound something like this: "I'm noticing that you are in a part of your journey where you could use some support." Pause. "Is my assumption correct, or not? Would you guide me a little bit on how you think I might be most useful in this moment?" Or, "How I might be most useful for you and the another part of that journey?" And sometimes ... Especially ... Because Cat, in this scenario, I'm going back to the notion of there being, originally, a suspicion, but I think the only way we can honor where we are in a relationship is to keep checking in, and the beautiful part of what you guys have done, which again, I don't want to get emotional about, but you've really been able to stand with your families in these moments where they need us absolutely the most. You've made connections through, to, and with them, and all the ways that they've needed, and you've continued to come back and say ... And this community supports us, to say ... And this just came through the chat. This was so supportive. It helps us to feel productive and prepared, like we're not alone. And we're not.
Cat: I noticed that too, Brandi, that wonderful comment about we're not alone and how important this dialogue has been, and that they're not feeling alone themselves. Our families are not alone. We're not alone. We're all in this together, which is kind of the whole point of some of the dialogue today. Another important thing I saw as we were winding up was the whole cultural issue and the language issue, and we need to be so careful when we have those conversations, just as you were bringing up Brandi, and the gentleness with which you said it, and the realization about how we approach our families: open hearts, ready to listen, and maybe there is a place in your life right now where I see you might need some support. That is just such a welcoming way to say. It's such an open doorway to say it. And actually, role playing as a family service manager we might actually sitting with our staff and talk about some of the issues that they're facing doing some role playing. I know people always try to avoid role- playing, but when I heard you say that I wanted to answer. I wanted to be a mom that says, "Yes, yes, I do." Or, "No, I don't." And when we speak about culture, we may be speaking broadly or we may be speaking personally, that I'm a very private person, and that I'm not ready to share that, or these decisions have been difficult already and I don't have the trust yet. So, it's just such a complicated issue, and as family services managers, I think it's one of the most important things you can talk with your staff about because it's validation as well as support. And hearing others say, "Yes, that's the way I would have said it to the family as well." Or, "Oh my goodness, we had a breakthrough," can be just so reassuring.
Jhumur: And Jennifer, I think what you said about cultural and cultural sensitivity it goes back to, very importantly, culture becomes almost a big word. whereas it's a very personal ... It could be an individual's culture, a family's culture, and how do you respect and honor that, but being very cognizant of the fact that I think that a lot of participants brought up the child. In the second scenario, what is going on with and for the child? Is a child able to communicate with the grandparent, because there could be a language of communication that the child is not able to engage and really express. And so, really taking care of the child and then separating the laws that we have in place ... What do you have in place? Procedures, protocols for the child, for the parents? It's a fine line, but really for a program and a program staff, to really be cognizant and know what those are. And I think, oh my gosh, look at me. I've got my fingers together, I know use my hands a lot, but it is the shape of a heart, and really keeping us all closed and families as well as our participants today, so really appreciate all of this engagement and sharing that we've had.
Jennifer: And Jhumur, I just want to say to you when preparing for this, I noticed so many times you said it's the words that we use. Even today, when you started our session, you said allies was such a big word and what did it mean, and I just admire so much when you talk to our staff or others about being so careful with our words, the words that we choose to use, and the meaning we have, and that's, again, going back to that nonverbal communication, watching to see the impact of our words. And I too echo ... This has been a wonderful opportunity to be with people across the nation ... Very excited to have been part of the panel. To you, Brandi, or Cat.
Brandi: I see Cat's head nod. I know we have a couple of things that I want to offer before we leave each other, and one of the pieces is this notion of some resources that we have available for you guys, and I wanted to point these out because not only do we have a couple of whole contents that the pages on the ECLKC, we have an incredible suite of resources around how to support families experiencing homelessness ... We certainly know those numbers have gone up in COVID times, and their modules ... You guys have checked them out, probably, taken the certificates that Dr. Bergeron charges to do in her home and Head Start campaign. There's also a lot of support over there around domestic violence. I want to acknowledge that many of you are bringing up the very sensitive distinction, and you're so right, between child abuse and neglect and domestic violence, and one of the things that we want to offer too is many states tribes and territories have different laws and different regulations around that kind of dialogue, so we definitely encourage you to check these out. And we have also in our suite of resources all kinds of incredible ways to connect with families through the context of conversation to do what we just described, so if you haven't been able to check this out yet, please do that. And we love hearing from you, so let us know what you think. And then certainly, I want to give a nod to that reflect and plan handout that's over there not only in the resource pod that is as we mentioned at the top of our time together in the hub now for you.
At this point, we want to make sure that you have some moments to do your knowledge check and certainly when you do the knowledge check, you know how it works now, you open up that widget, you answer the questions, and when you've done that successfully, you'll get a little congratulations notes and it will tell you how you can access that certificate of completion in the certificate widget. That it's right next door here on the slide. And once you have that, we recommend that you download it so that you have it for your records and other ways that you might find useful. So, we'll give you a couple of moments to complete that before we all transition over to our next session together.
And I just want to take the moments to thank each of you, for sure. I mean this is an exciting adventure for us actually be able to do a facilitated discussion virtually with thousands of our closest friends. Hello, somebody. [Laughter] So, we hope you feel that deep connection that we did, and we're so grateful that you trust us enough to come into these real conversations and unpack them together and think about the confirmations and the strategies that you already have and hopefully walk away with a little bit of inspiration about things to wonder about with your team and your family workers. Next, we're going to go into the fourth session, and that's about data. You're going to have a real treat to visit with both Dr. Richard and Dr. Brown, so that's going to happen as we transition away from this discussion but hopefully that gave you a little bit of time to complete your knowledge check and to get your certificate. As always, it's an honor to be with each of you. We thank you for what you do today and every day, and we can't wait to see you at the next session. Bye guys. Thank you, all the doctors. [Laughter]
Jhumur: Brandi, you had lots of people saying hello to you, so you might want to say hello. I know you've not had a chance, so people were remarking on how wonderful it is to see your face and all the contributions so thank you, thank you.
Brandi: Thank you guys. We love you so much. Bye everybody. Bye. Bye.Close
Discuss ways to support staff in the goal-setting process through the exploration of case scenarios. Think about ways to make difficult programmatic choices to meet the strengths and needs of families. Reflect on opportunities to support staff in having sensitive conversations. Consider approaches and strategies to developing “outside the box” partnerships.