The Head Start Program Performance Standards emphasize the need for ongoing attention to creating an environment that is receptive and inclusive to each family throughout its program experience. Head Start staff members play critical roles in promoting and sustaining supportive family partnerships. These partnerships, which are the foundation for Head Start's success, are characterized by mutual respect and trust, acceptance, objectivity, flexibility, personalized attention, and cultural awareness. This family partnership agreement process is individualized, strengths based, family driven, and staff supported. Each family determines the direction of its partnership and works with Head Start staff to achieve identified goals.
Developing a family partnership is an ongoing process which begins at enrollment and continues until the family has made a successful transition from the Head Start program. Whether working together to meet the developmental needs of children or towards realizing personal and family goals, staff and parents seek to understand and be understood. They seek to form a partnership based on mutual trust and respect.
The Family Service Workers work with families to provide the following services:
- Community outreach.
- Recruitment and enrollment of children.
- Partnering with families to set goals, responsibilities, plan of action and time lines.
- Partnering with parents in interactions such as parent meetings, parent training activities, center and home visit to enhance family self-reliance.
- Providing information about available community resources and how to obtain and use them.
- Referrals for job training, employment, money management, health & nutrition concerns or other services parents request.
- Support groups such as male involvement groups and single parent groups to assist families with common challenges.
- Emergency assistance and/or crisis intervention.
- Family progress is documented and celebrated with the family.
- Coordination of case management to ensure an efficient and timely delivery of services to families and children.
In the Literacy area, our vision is to provide parents with the necessary information and skills to become more active and effective participants in the community, the workplace, and in their child's educational development.
There are three basic roles for Head Start's promotion on family literacy:
- Increasing the HEAD START families' access to materials, activities, and services which are essential to family literacy development.
- Supporting parents in the role of being their child's first teacher by providing the encouragement through parent education to foster the child's independent success in literacy.
- Assisting parents as adult learners to recognize and address their own literacy needs.
To increase parent participation in literacy-related activities, our staff provides all or some of the following at the centers they serve:
- Information on incorporating literacy activities into everyday routines.
- Family encouragement to use public libraries.
- Memos of Understanding (Library Agreements) with local libraries.
- Recommendation on acquiring free or low-cost books.
- Referrals to literacy programs in the community.
You can find more information about your local library by choosing one of the following visiting this list of Arkansas Libraries.