Why is Family Leadership and Engagement Important? Many organizations such as the ones below have discussed the importance of family leadership.
“Equitable partnerships between families and EI programs and systems are critical to the success of EHDI programs and the achievement of optimal outcomes for children.”
JCIH Supplemental for Guidelines for Early Intervention – Goal #8
“Family engagement reflects a belief in the value of the family leadership at all levels from an individual, community, and policy level.”
MCH Title V Block Grants
“Strong family engagement in early childhood systems and programs is central—not supplemental—to promoting children’s healthy intellectual, physical, and social-emotional development…”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education
Policy Statement on Family Engagement
“Patients and their families are essential allies and key stakeholders in efforts to improve care. In fact, no one has more invested than they do in maintaining what is good about the delivery of care and improving the areas that need improvement. While this is often acknowledged, providers still find themselves doing things to and for the patient, rather than with them”
Powerful Partnerships: A Handbook for Families and Providers Working Together to Improve Care
Although, they are all a wide variety of organizations – from healthcare to education – they have one common thread. They all make the assertion that Family Engagement or Family Leadership is a central and integral part to the success of programs and systems. It is not an afterthought or a supplement but something that is intentionally interwoven throughout.
At Hands & Voices, we see Family Leadership in three levels shown in the diagram below. Family Leaders may move through the circles or they may remain within one. No matter what level the family is engaged in, they are all important. Parent involvement has been proven to increase the success of children with special needs. This involvement can be seen at the individual level, with parent-to-parent support, and at the systems level in EHDI system development.