Ensure staff reflect the rich diversity of cultures, language, perspectives and communities your program supports. Do you know what makes your families feel welcomed? Ask families about their interests and what topics would motivate them to engage. Then seek to provide those opportunities in response.
The foundation for successful implementation of family engagement is trust. It requires trust from all stakeholders to facilitate the home-to-program connection. Trust involves the willingness to be vulnerable based on the belief that the other party is benevolent, reliable, competent, honest, and open (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy 2000). Working to earn the trust of families, staff, young people, and administrators is an ongoing priority, requiring us to partner in a way that is transparent and has a clear focus on promoting program improvement. Our ability to connect and honor family voices feeds the efficiency in relationship and community building. Partnering with families about their interests, thoughts, celebrations, and struggles allow us to develop a relationship of mutual respect, honor, and trust.