Family & Community Engagement

Programs must integrate parent and family engagement strategies in all systems and program services to support family well-being and promote children’s learning and development. The Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (HSPFCE) Framework shapes DFSS’s family and community engagement strategy. HS/EHS/CCP/PI-funded programs must implement the HSPFCE Framework across the four framework levels: program foundations, program impact areas, family outcomes, and child outcomes. PFA-funded programs are encouraged to use HSPFCE to guide parent engagement strategies across program areas.

Due to COVID-19, the Office of Head Start has provided guidance on how FCE should be implemented during Program Year 2020-2021

  • Education services staff and parents should continue to communicate regularly about a child’s learning, development, routines, activities, behaviors, and progress. Parent-teacher conferences should continue
  • Programs must continue to ensure staff are able to communicate effectively with children who are dual language learners (DLLs) either directly or through interpretation and translation, and to the extent possible, with families with limited English proficiency.
  • Family engagement events are not a requirement, although many programs offer events for families to interact with each other. 

For more information, please review the Chicago Early Learning 2.0 Standards pg. 150.

HS Parent, FCE Engagement Framework (HSPFCE)

Family Support Specialist/Family Service Worker

FSS/ FSW play a critical role in the family engagement and partnership building process and must complete the following at minimum:

  • Engage families at intake and enrollment
  • Provide family support in obtaining physicals, immunizations, dental exams etc.
  • Implement the Parent and Family Engagement Curriculum
  • Engage Families in the Family Partnership Agreement (FPA) or family goals setting
  • Make monthly contact with families on their caseload
  • Meet monthly with their families engaged in FPA or according to a curriculum or a set schedule
  • Follow-up with families on their caseload who are experiencing chronic absenteeism as defined in ERSEA
  • Enter family engagement data into CSD CARES

Parent & Family Engagement Curriculum

All programs must adapt a research-based, DFSS approved parent engagement curriculum aligned with the HSPFCE Framework. Programs may either use Parents as Teachers (PAT) or Baby Talk Curricula for parent education in all program options.

Contact your assigned DFSS Supervisor for this resource.

Community Partnerships

DFSS requires HS/EHS/CCP/PI funded programs to create written community partnership agreements with local agencies and organizations that provide services that support the families the agency serves.  

  • TANF
  • Domestic Violence
  • Housing Support
  • Substance Abuse
  • Adult Education
  • Family Literacy
  • Workforce Development
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UIC Family Support Partnerships


Quarter 4 (Jun - Aug)
  • Complete and distribute ages of information to parents of children transitioning out of the program.
  • Complete all new/ongoing/in progress goals and referrals.
  • Begin the family partnership process as early as possible after enrollment; document efforts in COPA.
  • Renew/develop linkage/ community partnerships agreements. Publish revised Parent Handbook and Community Resource Directory; distribute to parents.
  • Identify children that will be age appropriate to transition out of the program.
  • Complete plans for parents’ involvement activities and submit to governing body and agency management.
  • Conduct the first home visit (home visits are conducted by classroom teachers—family engagement specialist/family services workers conduct home visits as needed.
  • At enrollment, enter family strengths, needs, goals, referral, services, and case notes on all families in COPA; documentation must support families’ priorities and goals.
  • Complete analysis of 4th Quarter PIR Data (end of the month).
  • Review and print Case History for families.
  • 4th Quarter PIR Data: 100% of families should have received at least one referral/service and must be documented.
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