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Activity 3: Maximizing Parent Knowledge, Choice and Engagement

Maximizing Parent Knowledge, Choice, and Engagement includes four strategies designed to maximize parent and family engagement in early childhood services and to make appropriate connections to a broad array of child and family services within the Birth through Five (B-5) system. Specific strategies will be implemented to reach families enrolled in NC Pre-K, who speak English as a second language, and/or have a child with a disability.

Activity 3.1: Universal Home Visiting Pilot

Through a partnership with the NC Partnership for Children and Duke University, the evidence-based Family Connects home visiting program will be expanded to serve 9,900 families with newborns, with goal to reach 60% of Medicaid births. For the initial pilot, participating parents primarily in high need counties will receive telehealth/telephonic visits from a registered nurse (RN). The RN will support families by addressing newborn and maternal health concerns, responding to immediate needs for support and guidance such as breastfeeding and home safety, linking families to community services leveraging NCCARE360, and helping new parents learn to better connect with their infant. This work will inform plans to scale and expand this service for all 100 counties. To learn more about how the NC Partnership for children and Duke University are partnering to support and strengthen families through the family connects home visiting pilot, please review the Family Connects factsheet.

3.2: Building Family Engagement and Leadership

State-level early childcare and education stakeholders will engage in activities to support family engagement, with a focus on strengthening family leadership.

  • The Family Engagement and Leadership Framework was developed by the Family Engagement and Leadership Coalition to guide practice improvements as well as policy and systems change, to support early childhood systems that are family-centered and equitable, and serving children in the context of their families and communities. Please visit the Family Engagement and Leadership webpage to access the Framework and Toolkit.
  • Family leadership opportunities will be coordinated to support families in gaining knowledge and leadership experience, and in accessing tools to advocate for resources to best meet their children’s or community’s needs.

3.3: Increasing Local Capacity to Improve and Promote Family Engagement and Leadership

The North Carolina Partnership for Children will increase local capacity to improve and promote family engagement across systems by engaging 40 local Smart Start partnerships in collaborating within their communities and implementing the Family Engagement and Leadership Framework. Local Smart Start partnerships will adapt policies, processes or programs based on parent input to support and prepare families to be leaders in the ECE system.

3.4: Expanding and Improving Family Outreach Materials and Activities

PBS NC will partner with local communities to host events aimed at deepening engagement with educators and families (specifically those that are under-served, including families enrolled in NC Pre-K, tribal families, families with English as a second language, and families with children with special needs). Goals include:

  • Parents will be able to use electronic devices to receive messaging through texts (Bright by Text), emails, videos and other resources with child development information and age-appropriate activities they can do with their children.
  • Families will participate in UNC-TV/PBS NC-sponsored family events (including over-the-air broadcast programming, virtual trainings and/or in-person events) that share information about child development, parenting practices and child care resources.
  • Early childhood teachers will participate in PBS KIDS Early Education Summits where they will make connections, access new resources, and learn strategies for developmentally-appropriate practices for young children.



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