From Principles to Practice: Building a Family Engagement Culture

The Packard Foundation believes that all children deserve to be surrounded by a nurturing network of adults who have the knowledge and resources to provide the best experiences at home, in different care settings, and in school. There is growing recognition about how important a child’s family is across the many settings where children live, learn, and play. However, what is often less clear is what authentic family engagement looks like in practice, and how organizations can effectively engage families in responsive and culturally-relevant ways. The LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investments and Engage R+D have created this learning brief that explores family engagement approaches taken by the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, who has been supported by the Packard Foundation and First 5 LA. The brief explores how philanthropy offers not just funding, but also thought partnership and a supportive, learning culture as organizations explore family engagement. It concludes that family engagement is a continuous, intentional strategy across organizations and systems, and requires a deliberate, constant intent to keep efforts family-centered.