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Engaging the Parent/Family Voice in EEC Policy Discussions. Policy and Research Committee January 7, 2013. EEC Mission Statement. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care’s mission is to provide the foundation that supports all children in their development as

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Engaging the parent family voice in eec policy discussions

Engaging the Parent/Family Voice in EEC Policy Discussions

Policy and Research Committee

January 7, 2013


Eec mission statement
EEC Mission Statement

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care’s mission is to provide the foundation that supports all children in their development as

lifelong learners and contributing members of the community, and supports families in their essential work as parents and caregivers.


Eec and the family voice

EEC and the Family Voice

“The work we do, in partnership with you, is vital to the future social and economic wellbeing of the Commonwealth - as today's children will become tomorrow's citizens, workers and parents.”

~Commissioner Killins


Cfce alignment with eec s strategic plan
CFCE Alignment with EEC’s Strategic Plan

The goals and priorities of the CFCE grant directly align with EEC’s Indicators of Success under the Family Support, Access and Affordability section of the EEC Strategic Plan. These Indicators include:

  • Families are aware of the mixed early education and care system and have access to affordable, high-quality early education and care services.

  • Families are recognized as full partners in the education of their children and are empowered to be involved with the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of their children.

  • Families are informed about child development and aware of family support resources.

  • Families of infants have access to programs and services that support the development of healthy attachment between babies and their primary caregivers and promote early brain development.

  • Parents are recognized as their child’s first teacher and have access to literacy supports that build skills among children and parents.

  • Families have access to high quality supports and resources for transitioning children in and out of early education and care programs and services.

  • Families that are limited or non-English speaking have access to information about early education and care and the services available.

  • Family services are integrated and delivered in a coordinated manner across state agencies.

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Interagency framework strengthening families protective factors
Interagency Framework: Strengthening Families Protective Factors

EEC, in partnership with CTF and DCF, continues to utilize the Strengthening

Families framework and approach, which has widespread support from social

science researchers, early childhood practitioners and policy experts. The

Protective Factors are:

  • Parental resilience: The ability to cope and bounce back from all types of challenges

  • Social connections: Friends, family members, neighbors, and other members of a community who provide emotional support and concrete assistance to parents

  • Knowledge of parenting and child development: Accurate information about raising young children and appropriate expectations for their behavior

  • Concrete support in times of need: Financial security to cover day-to-day expenses and unexpected costs that come up from time to time, access to formal supports like TANF and Medicaid, and informal support from social networks

  • Children’s social and emotional development: A child’s ability to interact positively with others and communicate his or her emotions effectively

    Retrieved from The Center for the Study of Social Policy, Strengthening Families, January 5, 2010.

    http://www.strengtheningfamilies.net/index.php/main_pages/protective_factors

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Current eec opportunities for parent family engagement
Current EEC Opportunities for Factors Parent/Family Engagement

The EEC Board of Directors and The Policy and Research Committee currently has one member who serves as a parent representative.

Monthly EEC Board Meetings are open to the public.

Community Parent Meetings with Commissioner Killins are held periodically throughout the state.

Parent/Family Surveys have been used to gather information and feedback.


Proposed opportunities for increased parent family engagement in eec policy discussion
Proposed Opportunities Factors for Increased Parent/Family Engagement in EEC Policy Discussion


Partnerships and collaborations
Partnerships and Factors Collaborations

EEC currently has relationships with several organizations that can be leveraged to share policy related information and solicit feedback from parents and families. These organizations already have existing family and community outreach efforts as well as thousands of established parent/family groups. These organizations include:

  • CFCE Grantees (Coordinated Family and Community Engagement) are required, among other things, to include parent representatives on their councils.

  • EPS Grantees (Educator and Provider Support) indirectly reach parents/families through their support of educators and providers. Assistance with QRIS offers a natural opportunity to promote parent/family discussion in EEC policy through Category 4: Family and Community Engagement .


  • CCRR Grantees (Child Care Resource and Factors

    Referral Agencies) have numerous interactions

    with families and, in addition to making referrals,

    they also collect data, provide trainings and ”connect with

    community leaders, public officials and stakeholders.”

    • MHSA’s (The Massachusetts Head Start Association) governing board includes parent representatives. One of The Board’s objectives is to,

      “Encourage widespread collaboration between Head Start and other appropriate programs, services, and initiatives and augment Head Start's capacity to be a partner in State initiatives on behalf of children and their families.” (source: www.massheadstart.org)

    • WGBH- the educator and parent curriculum project currently in development has an advisory group that meets periodically and includes parents on the committee.


  • Massachusetts Early Intervention System’s Factors Leadership Project is “staffed by parents whose children have received Early Intervention Services…The Project's main goal is to promote lifetime advocacy, leadership skills and the development of an informed parent constituency, which will encourage early intervention services to be increasingly family centered. The Project is a parent driven endeavor, which continually seeks family involvement and input regarding the needs of families enrolled in Early Intervention and is implemented by parents whose own children have received EI services.”

  • The United Way- Brain Building in Progress

    is a joint initiative between EEC and the United Way, to provide more information on the science of brain building and why our future depends on it.


Additional Organizations and Partnerships that Offer Opportunities for Parent/Family Engagement Include:

  • Museums and Libraries throughout the state offer many opportunities for parent/family events and gatherings.

  • Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, sponsored by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, meets monthly.

  • The Postpartum Commission is a collaboration of individuals representing health and mental health care, insurance, children and families, education, legislators and members of the community.


Media outreach
Media Outreach Opportunities for Parent/Family Engagement Include:

Email Distribution via the Commissioner’s Blast, can include an “EEC Policy and Research Updates” section. Use of an email marketing system such as Constant Contact will providea dynamic format for publications, links to resources, calendar events, surveys, as well as many other services. Users can also subscribe to topics of personal interest.

On-line Parent Surveys such as Survey Monkey, provide a quick and convenient method of collecting parent and family feedback.

Telephone Contact throughMass 211, can be used to inform and invite parents/families to scheduled committee meetings.


Social media
Social Media Opportunities for Parent/Family Engagement Include:

Sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, offer parents and family members an informal and easily accessible means of communication.

Some of these are already in use by many Mass.Gov departments.


The early childhood information system
The Early Childhood Opportunities for Parent/Family Engagement Include:Information System

The Early Childhood Information System, currently in development, will give EEC the ability to not only share information with parents and families, but also to provide parents and families with the opportunity to contribute their comments and suggestions.

A Department of Early Education and Care Policy and Research Committee Updates web page may include:

  • A brief overview of current policy related topics.

  • A specific question related to this topic, which solicits feedback.

  • A response box where parents/families can type their opinions and then submit to EEC.


Outreach through the quality rating and improvement system qris
Outreach through the Opportunities for Parent/Family Engagement Include:Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Category 4 in QRIS is comprised of standards that are related to Family & Community Engagement. The current language does not specifically include EEC, but may be revised in a manner that requires providers to connect families directly to EEC’s resources.

Relevant Center-Based and School-Based standards:

  • 4A.4.1 “Parents participate on the Advisory Board for the program and are actively involved in the policy and decision making for the program.”

  • 4A.4.2 “Program provides or connects families to education, training and support programs (such as family literacy, adult education, job training, child development, parenting, English as a second language, etc.).”


Relevant Family Child Care standards: Opportunities for Parent/Family Engagement Include:

  • 4A.2.2 “Educator maintains a list of current

    community resources that support families

    that is always accessible to parents, including

    information about available resources for annual vision, hearing and dental screenings.”

  • 4A4.2 “Educator provides or connects families to education, training and support programs (such as family literacy, adult education, job training, child development, parenting, English as a second language, etc.).”

    Relevant After School & Out of School Time standards:

  • 4A.2.2 “Program maintains a list of current community resources that support families and is accessible to students and families.”

  • 4A.4.1 “Parents participate on the Advisory Board for the program and are actively involved in the policy and decision making for the program.”

  • 4A.4.2 “Program connects families to education, training and support programs (such as family literacy, adult education, job training, child development, parenting, English as a second language, etc.).”


Considerations when Strategizing Ways to Increase Parent/Family Engagement in EEC Policy and Research Discussions

Location

Transportation

Time

Child Care

Meals

Confidence

Language


CLOSING Parent/Family Engagement in EEC Policy and Research Discussions

  • Additional Proposals?

  • Questions and Comments

  • Next Steps


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