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Family Engagement

As families nurture, care, play, and support their children’s development, they are laying a foundation for lifelong health and learning.  All families benefit from access to information, support and education that give them the tools they want to raise healthy young learners.  Effective programs and learning opportunities for families seek to understand individual family situations and work with families, as co-learners and partners to support them to take steps to achieve their goals and realize their dreams for their children.

We have team members whose work has made us a national leader in working with and on behalf of families to create the opportunities and programs families need and want to make a difference in their own lives, for their children and for their communities.

Technical Assistance and Training for Great Start Parent Coalitions

Great Start Parent Coalitions are unique to Michigan and were originally created by the Investment Corporation in 2006 - 2007. Over 50 Parent Coalitions provide a customer perspective for Michigan’s 54 Great Start Collaboratives and support their work toward achieving Michigan’s early childhood outcomes. Parent Coalition members educate their community about the importance of early childhood and provide information, education and resources to parents raising young children.

The Investment Corporation provides an annual planned program of technical assistance to the Parent Liaisons who convene and lead Parent Coalitions across Michigan. The planned program includes training, coaching, consultation, a weekly bulletin of information and resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The Investment Corporation also hosts a technical assistance consultation phone line and email box to respond to day-to-day questions and provide immediate consultation on emerging issues.

Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative (MIECHV)

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting supports pregnant women and families and helps parents of children from birth to age 5 tap the resources and develop the skills they need to raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.

In Michigan eleven at-risk communities were identified through needs assessments: Berrien, Calhoun, Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Oakland, St. Clair, Saginaw, and Wayne.

The Investment Corporation provides technical assistance, coaching and consultation to the eleven communities to develop and implement a plan that addresses the necessary provisions for parent participation and the incorporation of required partners for their Local Leadership Groups. The technical assistance for the Local Leadership Group includes the expansion of understanding the importance of authentic parent engagement, the development of policies and procedures that support parent engagement, and the convening of a learning community for the parent representatives serving on Local Leadership Groups.

The Investment Corporation also provides facilitation, coaching and consultation to the Local Leadership Groups related to the following projects: Continuous quality Improvement (CQI), developing a continuum of models and sustainability planning.

Strengthening FamiliesTM

The Strengthening Families™ initiative in Michigan has been co-led by the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. The Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families framework is a research-based, cost-effective strategy to in­crease family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. It focuses on building five Protective Factors that also promote healthy outcomes. 

At the state level Michigan is currently focused on developing an interagency, coordinated dialogue about Strengthening Families with the development of a state logic model. A primary focus at the state level has been to provide support to local communities through trainings and technical assistance. To help build local capacity the Investment Corporation convenes a statewide Learning Community that supports Great Start Collaborative Directors, Great Start Parent Coalition Liaisons, and a variety of early learning and prevention oriented organizational leads interested in the integration of this framework. Additionally, several Investment Corporation team members are certified Strengthening Families trainers.  Find out about our staff expertise here.

Great Start to Quality Website

GreatStartToQuality.org is Michigan’s online searchable database for licensed child care and preschool. Families can use that information to find programs that best fit their needs.  

Great Start Evaluation

In 2010 and 2012, with funding from the Kellogg Foundation, the Investment Corporation worked with Dr. Pennie Foster-Fishman, Michigan State University, using a participatory design process to develop and field two evaluation studies of what was then known as the Great Start Network. Both rounds of evaluation identified the vital role that parents play as change agents in improving and expanding a community-based early childhood system. Read more on the 2010 evaluation here. Read more about the 2012 evaluation here.

 

Social Emotional Health and School Readiness:  A Guide for Parents with Children Birth to Age 5

In 2009, the External Board Advisory Committee on Social and Emotional Health for the Early Childhood Investment Corporation prepared this publication. Click here to read more.

 

Parent Leadership on the Great Start Collaboratives:  A Resource Guide for Great Start Collaboratives

In 2009, the Investment Corporation worked with Great Start Collaborative parent members to prepare this publication. Click here to read more.

Parent Voice and Engagement in Home Visiting

In 2013, the Investment Corporation developed and produced ten digital stories with parents sharing their experience of home visiting services through Healthy Families America, Nurse Family Partnership, and Early Head Start Home Visiting programs. It also conducted an assessment process of the eleven MIECHV Local Leadership Groups in order to provide a planned and individualized approach of technical assistance for authentic parent engagement. 

 

Statewide Training to Support and Disseminate Strengthening Families

The Strengthening Families™ initiative in Michigan has been co-led by the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) and the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. Strengthening Families is a research-based, cost-effective strategy to in­crease family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. In order to build regional capacity, in 2012 the Investment Corporation sponsored a 3-day Strengthening Families “Training for-Trainers” for its Great Start To Quality Resource Centers, Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition Network as well as Head Start and the state’s child welfare trainers. Additionally, the Investment Corporation sponsored a two day training for the statewide Quality Improvement Consultants to offer support to local early learning and care programs on the Strengthening Families/Protective Factors concepts and integrative program strategies.

 

Technical Assistance and Training for Great Start Parent Coalitions

Great Start Parent Coalitions are unique to Michigan and were originally created by the Investment Corporation in 2006. Since 2006 the Investment Corporation has overseen the creation, development, implementation and evaluation of the Parent Coalitions in Michigan. Over 50 Parent Coalitions provide a customer perspective for Michigan’s 54 Great Start Collaboratives and support their work toward achieving Michigan’s early childhood outcomes. Parent Coalition members educate their community about the importance of early childhood and provide information, education and resources to parents raising young children.

Past Projects include creating:

  • A continuum of Parenting Leadership and guidance for each level of the continuum
  • A Scope of Work and Guidelines for Great Start Parent Coalitions
  • A learning community for Parent Liaisons and Collaborative Directors – “Parent Leadership and Voice”
  • Financial support policies to enable parent participation in community-based decision-making
  • Parents Partnering for Change Training-a two day leadership development training for parents
  • One page briefs (blogs)regarding Parent Leadership
  • Assessment Tool for Developing Learning Goals for local parent organizers
  • Planning guide/interview questions for Designing and Delivering Parent Engagement Projects
  • Parent Leadership Institute – 2009 & 2010
  • Influencing Change:  Using your Story to make change—workshop for parents
  • Candidate Touch Point Campaign materials in support of early childhood investment:
  • PowerPoint--“Election Process and How it Works”
  • PowerPoint—“Inspiring Volunteer Coalition Members to Participate in Legislator Early Childhood Education Campaigns”
  • Training module—“Advocacy and Legislator Education 101”
  • Interview guide, introduction letter template, early childhood questionnaire, and background talking points
  • Template for local early childhood conditions and accomplishments
  • Planning, and organizing a Local Early Childhood System Bus Tour, including script
  • Meeting with Legislators-Tips and Talking Points
  • Guidance document regarding public education and voter activities related to early childhood
  • Post primary follow-up directions, steps and template letter
  • Building and Maintaining a Parent Coalition materials:
          o  Planning and recruitment
          o  Barriers and Supports to Participation
          o  Developing Effective Work Plan
          o  Assessing the composition of the Coalition
          o  Capacity Assessment/ Developing a member profile
          o  Identifying needs and gaps of the coalition membership
          o  Creating Effective Meetings
  • Parent Leadership Development—integrating nationally recognized leadership qualities, Strengthening Families Protective Factors and some aspects of executive brain function in adults.  Materials include:
          o  Agenda/Facilitation Guide
          o  Framework for Leadership Development  (Theory for Development)
          o  Parent Leadership is Important—Circles of Influence worksheet
          o  Story Telling organizing worksheet
          o  Goal setting worksheet
          o  Techniques for brainstorming
          o  Inclusion Activity