Policy Resource

Maryland Embeds Family Engagement Framework into Early Childhood Services and Systems

Jul 9, 2017

A key goal of Maryland’s Early Learning Challenge grant, awarded in December 2011, was to strengthen family engagement across the early childhood system.

Since being awarded with the grant, the state made significant progress toward its family engagement goals. Early childhood educators, policymakers, service providers, and community advocates came together to form the Maryland Family Engagement Coalition in 2012. The group developed a family engagement framework for the state that was approved by the Maryland Early Childhood Advisory Council and State Board of Education the following year.

The framework outlines seven goals for family engagement:

  1. Family engagement initiatives should promote family well-being.
  2. Family engagement initiatives should promote positive parent-child relationships.
  3. Family engagement initiatives should support families as lifelong educators of their children.
  4. Family engagement initiatives should support the educational aspirations of parents and families.
  5. Family engagement initiatives should support families through the care and education transitions of early childhood.
  6. Family engagement initiatives should connect families to their peers and to the community.
  7. Family engagement initiatives should support the development of families as leaders and child advocates.

It also offers strategies programs and providers can use to meet the goals, organized into two categories: (a) foundational areas: program leadership and professional development; and (b) program impact areas: program environment, family partnerships, teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

Additionally, the coalition compiled an Effective Practices Guide that shares activities providers working in multiple settings, including child care, public prekindergarten, Head Start, home visiting programs, and libraries, are employing to meet the family engagement goals. This resource strengthened the technical assistance the coalition provides to help programs and agencies embed the framework into their policies and practices. Maryland has also taken steps to embed the framework into state systems by including family engagement indicators at all levels of its Quality Rating and Improvement System and initiating a series of Parent Cafes across the state.

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