Imperative #2 Support parents and caregivers as children's first teachers and champions

Summary:  Family plays a unique and critical role in a young child's life. Parents and caregivers are children's first teachers and champions, so ensuring they have access to resources that help them promote emotional, health, and educational development from birth is key. However, they often face barriers that interfere with their ability to give their children a healthy start.

Detroit's Context

Detroit's extreme poverty rates, among the highest of American cities, force parents to focus on their basic needs, such as housing and food security. These barriers often prevent parents from ensuring their students enter school ready to learn. This is reflected in the fact that 14% of Detroit Students read at grade level by 3rd grade and that Detroit leads the nation in chronic absenteeism with 58% of the city's students chronically absent (10) (11). The most effective way to close these gaps is to support Detroit parents from birth. Any attempt to address these inequities must begin with addressing this need for economic security, but also focus on generating awareness of the importance and availability of Early Childhood Programming that are too often seen as optional or inaccessible. Partnering with outreach programs, such as home visits, could lead to effective outcomes for parents and students alike. Targeting parents and families, through specific community-led programs that generate awareness, and provide opportunities for interaction offer a tremendous opportunity to impact the families and the future of the city.

Policy Alignment

Community parent groups such as Sisterfriends, and the variety of local organizations that administer responsible parenting programming in the city, are well engaged with this work. These organizations offer direct programming while groups like the Great Start Collaborative track and serve as a hub for local events and opportunities geared towards engaging parents. (9) Developing awareness of and programming for parents will work hand in hand with many of the direct HSH policy priorities by generating awareness of new opportunities for government benefits, such as an expanded EITC, and allowing families to have more time to participate in targeted programming, through the increased opportunity for paid leave and economic security that the HSH priorities promote

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