Lead Strategies: 3, 4, 5

Leading Practices
  1. Support the critical role family plays in making sure kids' first years are healthy and positive.

  2. Make the processes, programs, and systems that support young children and their families easier to use so they better meet families' needs.

  3. Build a team of family advocates and community champions to promote early childhood.


Case Studies and Evaluations (Research):

  • Croatia- in a program called designed and support by researchers on behalf of UNICEF. Experts worked with groups of 10-12 parents in a series of 10 workshops designed to promote parent and child engagement and communication. Surveys and expert evaluations showed marked progress compared to the control group following this intervention. In particular, researchers note "Those results of the comparison of parental beliefs before and after the Workshop Programme indicate that they shift toward a stronger acceptance of the child and parental actions that respect the child's dignity and recognize the child as a person." (13).

  • Baltimore- Developing All Dads for Manhood and Parenting (DAD MAP) is a program run by the Baltimore Center for Urban Families and Temple University that uses culturally tailored programming aimed to impact low-income African American fathers with children under 12 years old (14). Specifically trained leaders lead biweekly meetings with participants for 8 weeks where participants engage in targeted activities and discussions. Randomized control trials of the program found that "that the DAD MAP curriculum is an effective way of promoting fatherhood engagement." (14). In particular, participants were more likely to spend time with and profess care for their children.

  • Oregon- The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) is a state-wide initiative led by The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF), The Ford Family Foundation, and Oregon State University (OSU). The initiative specifically focused on highlighting relevant parental engagement programs "with a focus on programs reaching parents of children prenatal to age six" (15). The organization funds local parenting programs by utilizing regional hubs, that coordinate and disperse funding to community organizations that provide such programming. Evaluation of the collaborative work between 2010-2017 by Oregon State University found significant impacts including, increased participation in parental educational programming, increased parental and child skill measures for those who participated, and increased effectiveness and capacity among the local partners that OPEC supported (15).

  • Nationally- A team of researchers undertook a meta-analytic that analyzed 55 studies and independent reports evaluating the success of programs for low-income, unmarried, and non-resident fathers (16). Overall the team found that the programs had a small statistically significant impact on the engagement of fathers, with programs that used parenting education models having the greatest success (16). This study shows that these type of parent intervention programs have the potential to succeed but need to be specifically tailored to the needs of the targeted community (16).

What We Do

Current Tactics and Activities: 

Parent/Caregiver Engagement

  • Connect parents and caregivers to ECE related training, coaching, and resources
  • Train and coach parents and caregivers, especially the hard to reach subset, in ECE outreach
  • Create broad ECE awareness messaging to support outreach and engagement
  • Host annual Day of the Young Child events that celebrate children

Sector Partner Engagement

  • Facilitate co-design meetings with organizational partners and community members
  • Create targeted action groups

Community-level Advocacy

  • Train parents and caregivers in advocacy-related topics
  • Coordinate local listening campaigns, policy awareness activities and legislative events
  • Partner with local, multi-city and statewide organizations to support community-driven policy/advocacy efforts.
Who's On Deck

Detroit currently has several local organizations, ranging from the social work offices to local faith-based partners, that run programming following various responsible fatherhood model that can be accessed by those parents seeking guidance. Beyond these specific opportunities programs, other organizations run programs that promote parental engagement in Early childhood development. For example, the National Center for Family Learning runs programming in partnership with the United Way for Southeast Michigan, which includes both parent classes, child classes, and work with families as a whole. Parents showed increased engagement in their children's school and personal lives and children's academic and attendance outcomes improved greatly (11). Current community organizations such as Sisterfriends Detroit, are run through the Detroit Health Department as serve as community networks for parents to connect to local resources, opportunities, and one another. Other local organizations advocate for policy that promotes parental involvement, in particular, the Great Start Collaborative tracks and maintains reliable data and maintains and stores information on early childhood events and resources (9).

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