Head Start, a comprehensive child development program, always operates within the context of the child's family and his or her community.

Family Partnership Building

The Head Start Program Performance Standards emphasize the need for ongoing attention to creating an environment that is receptive and inclusive to each family throughout its program experience. Head Start staff members play critical roles in promoting and sustaining supportive family partnerships. These partnerships, which are the foundation for Head Start's success, are characterized by mutual respect and trust, acceptance, objectivity, flexibility, personalized attention, and cultural awareness. This family partnership agreement process is individualized, strengths based, family driven, and staff supported. Each family determines the direction of its partnership and works with Head Start staff to achieve identified goals.

Developing a family partnership is an ongoing process which begins at enrollment and continues until the family has made a successful transition from the Head Start program. Whether working together to meet the developmental needs of children or towards realizing personal and family goals, staff and parents seek to understand and be understood. They seek to form a partnership based on mutual trust and respect.

The Family Involvement Specialist, Family Service Workers and Home Visitors work with families to provide the following services:

  • Community outreach.
  • Recruitment and enrollment of children.
  • Partnering with families to set goals, responsibilities, plan of action and time lines.
  • Partnering with parents in interactions such as parent meetings, parent training activities, center and home visit to enhance family self-reliance.
  • Providing information about available community resources and how to obtain and use them.
  • Referrals for job training, employment, money management, health & nutrition concerns or other services parents request.
  • Support groups such as male involvement groups and single parent groups to assist families with common challenges.
  • Emergency assistance and/or crisis intervention.
  • Family progress is documented and celebrated with the family.
  • Advocacy.
  • Coordination of case management to ensure an efficient and timely delivery of services to families and children.