Federal Departments Seek Public Input on Joint Policy Statement on Family Engagement
UPDATE: Deadline Extended to January 4th
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plan to release a policy statement on the implementation of effective family engagement practices from the early years to the early grades. To inform the final statement, the departments are requesting additional public comments by email (ECD@acf.hhs.gov) through
December 21st January 4th on the draft statement.
ED and HHS have established a policy board to develop recommendations, improve program coordination, and heighten quality across federally-funded programs serving children ages 0-8. Earlier this year, the departments jointly released Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs based on public comments received after officials debuted the draft federal policy statement on inclusion at FPG's National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute.
In a news release on the proposed policy statement on family engagement, the ED and HHS departments characterized strong family engagement as crucial for "promoting children’s healthy development and wellness, including social-emotional and behavioral development; preparing children for school; seamlessly transitioning them to kindergarten; and supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond." According to the release, "When families and the institutions where children learn partner in meaningful ways, children have more positive attitudes toward school, stay in school longer, have better attendance, and experience more school success."
ED and HHS also explained in the announcement that the new proposed policy statement "reviews the research base that supports effective family engagement in children’s learning, development and wellness; identifies core principles of effective family engagement practices from HHS’ and ED’s family engagement frameworks; provides recommendations to states, Local Education Agencies (LEAs), schools, and community-based early childhood programs for implementing effective family engagement practices; and highlights resources for States, LEAs, schools, and early childhood program to build capacity to effectively partner with families."
The departments noted that "recognition of families as equal partners in improving children’s development, learning and wellness across all settings, and over the entire course of children’s developmental and educational experiences is an essential component of ensuring positive outcomes for all children."
In addition to Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs and the new proposed policy statement on family engagement, ED and HHS previously released the joint Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension Practices in Early Learning Settings.
Photo courtesy of the FPG Photo Archives.