Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

RP Products by Topic: Family

from the DEC Recommended Practices on Family:

Family practices refer to ongoing activities that:

  1. promote the active participation of families in decision-making related to their child (e.g., assessment, planning, intervention);
  2. lead to the development of a service plan (e.g., a set of goals for the family and child and the services and supports to achieve those goals); or
  3. support families in achieving the goals they hold for their child and the other family members.

Family Checklists

  • This checklist includes the kinds of practitioner help-giving behavior that are indicators for interacting with and treating parents and other family members in a family-centered manner. The practices are used as part of engaging parents and other family members in child, parent-child, parent, and family interventions.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan interactions with parents or other family members as part of any assessment or intervention activity. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the family-centered practice characteristics were used during practitioner-family interactions.

  • This checklist includes the kinds of practitioner help-giving practices that can be used to engage parents in informed decision-making in ways that are responsive to family concerns and priorities.

    The help-giving behavior include practices that provide parents information, advice, and guidance in ways that lead to the identification of child, parent, or family outcomes and the resources and supports needed to achieve those outcomes. The practices are used in conjunction with family-centered practices and family engagement practices.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan interactions with a parent or other family member to engage them in making informed choices about courses-of-action to address family concerns and priorities. The checklist rating scale can be used to do self-evaluation to determine if the practice characteristics appropriate to a family's situation were used as part of practitioner-parent interactions.

  • This checklist includes the kinds of practitioner help-giving practices that can be used to actively engage parents and other family members in obtaining family-identified resources and supports or actively engaging parents and other family members in the use of other types of intervention practices. The focus of family engagement practices is to support and strengthen parents' active participation in intervention activities in ways that have competency-enhancing outcomes.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan intervention sessions with parents and other family members. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if parents and other family members were actively involved in implementing child or family intervention plans.

  • This checklist includes practices for engaging parents and other family members in using child-level interventions to promote child learning and development in ways that strengthen parenting confidence and competence.

    The capacity-building practices are used by a practitioner to promote a parent's understanding and use of everyday activities and routines as sources of child learning opportunities.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan intervention sessions with parents and other family members. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if practitioner capacity-building practices actively involved parents in providing their children everyday learning opportunities.

Family Practice Guides for Practitioners

  • Family-centered practices are a particular way of working with and developing collaborative relationships with families. These practices include two key elements: Relationship-building and participatory parent and family involvement. Both practices, when used together, increase the likelihood that any type of intervention practice done in a family-centered manner will have optimal parent, family, and child outcomes and benefits.

  • Involving family members in informed decision-making increases the likelihood that child and parent intervention practices are responsive to family concerns and priorities. This can best be accomplished by working with parents and other family members in ways that are sensitive and responsive to each family's unique circumstances in order to develop and implement interventions to achieve desired outcomes and goals.

  • Family engagement practices include methods and strategies that actively involve parents and other caregivers in obtaining family-identified supports and resources or engaging in family desired parent, parent-child, and family activities. The key to family engagement is active participation in actions to achieve outcomes in ways that strengthen child, parent-child, parent and family functioning. This is best accomplished by building on family strengths and interests.

  • Family capacity-building practices are used to support and strengthen parents and other caregivers' abilities to provide their children everyday learning opportunities. This is accomplished using a number of different strategies for supporting and strengthening parents' use of everyday activities to promote child learning and development.

Family Practice Guides for Families

  • Chances are you will be working with professionals who say they are family-centered or use family-centered practices. When this is the case, you and your family should expect to be treated in certain ways and be actively involved in decision-making and actions to achieve family-identified outcomes and goals. This practice guide includes things that are helpful to know about family-centered practices.

  • Professionals can be most helpful to families if their advice and suggestions are responsive to parents' concerns and priorities. To be sure professionals are responsive to your family's concerns and priorities, it is important that they really listen to and provide families complete and unbiased information in order for you to make informed choices. This practice guide includes things you can do to be sure interventions fit your child and family's particular situation.

  • One of the best ways of improving family life is for parents and other family members to be actively involved in obtaining family-identified supports and resources. Professionals who use family-centered practices can be especially helpful in encouraging family members to be actively involved in obtaining supports and resources. They should work with you in ways involving you in achieving what you want to accomplish for your child, yourself, and your family and not do everything for you. This practice guide includes things you can do to be sure you and other family members are key players in improving family life.

  • Young children's learning occurs anyplace, anytime, and anywhere! Providing your child everyday learning opportunities is one of the best ways to help your child learn new behavior and skills. You also will feel good about yourself as a parent when you see your child learn new things. This practice guide includes things you can do to provide your child lots of everyday child learning opportunities.

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Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

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