Service providers can foster a more trusting relationship when they approach parents as the experts on their own children, listen openly to their concerns and perspectives, and seek solutions with them (rather than provide solutions to them). Parents engaged in this way are more likely to invite and welcome providers' support in evaluating needs, developing goals, and identifying effective ways to strengthen the family and provide care for children. Service providers can also promote self-confidence and empower parents to take a leadership role in their communities and the agencies with which they are involved.
Use the following resources to learn more about parent engagement and leadership, including State and local examples.
Building and Sustaining Effective Partnerships With Parents
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds
Describes training and technical assistance to improve parent partnerships as well as initiatives such as community cafes and the Parent Partnership Council.
Building Strong Relationships With Parents
ZERO TO THREE
Provides tools for the early childhood professional to support and foster relationships with parents.
Circle of Parents®
A collaboration of Prevent Child Abuse America and the National Family Support Roundtable, Circle of Parents provides training and technical assistance around parent leadership and resources on parent involvement.
Engaging Families as Experts: Collaborative Family Program Development (PDF - 168 KB)
Family Process, 45(2), 2006
Describes 10 steps to engage families in the development and implementation of community-based programs, including a discussion of family contributions to program development and an illustration of a program developed with family engagement.
Family Centered Practice and Child Safety Management (PDF - 75 KB)
Action for Child Protection (2008)
Discusses the need to create safety management partnerships with families so that caseworkers and families have a shared interest in assuring the safety of the child. Includes strategies for employing family-centered practices and for building partnerships, as well as tips for handling client resistance.
Family Leadership and Perspectives
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (2011)
Links to resources such as State and local examples of parent leader development and recognition efforts as well as PowerPoint presentations, bibliographies, and related websites.
Growing and Sustaining Parent Engagement: A Toolkit for Parents and Community Partners (PDF - 495 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2010)
Features approaches to parent engagement and provides examples and questions to help readers create their own parent engagement roadmap, checklist, and support network.
Parent Leadership Network
Offers a free online community for parents to talk about ways to develop and expand their leadership skills and opportunities. The network also provides resources to community members and policymakers who currently work with or are interested in working with parent leaders in shared leadership.
Parent Partner Programs for Families Involved in the Child Welfare System
California Evidence-Based Practice Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Describes parent partner programs reviewed and rated by the Clearinghouse for their effectiveness engaging parents in meeting their safety, permanency, and well-being goals.
Engaging and Integrating Parent Leadership (PDF - 563 KB)
Wilder Research (2011)
Summarizes the development and implementation of activities related to Minnesota's Parent Leadership for Child Safety and Permanency team.
Parent Leadership and Family Engagement in CPS and Foster Care (PDF - 2,036 KB)
Virginia Child Protection Newsletter, 92, 2011
Emphasizes the importance of using a family engagement approach when working with families involved in the child welfare system and identifies key family support principles.