Building Family Partnerships: Family Engagement Findings from the Head Start FACES Study

OPRE Report 2017-102
Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Dec 30, 2017
Nikki Aikens, Elizabeth Cavadel, Jacob Hartog, Felicia Hurwitz, Emily Knas, Owen Schochet, Lizabeth Malone, and Louisa Tarullo

Key Findings:

  • Parents and staff report a range of family engagement and service provision activities aligned with the Framework.
  • Parents report programs are welcoming environments, they have positive relationships with staff, and staff support family outcomes in most areas of the Framework.
  • Staff at all levels engage families and individualize services.
  • Staff regularly share information and resources with their colleagues.
  • Based on parent and staff reports, some aspects of program functioning around family engagement may require further support.
    • Program staff may need more support for engaging with families in more collaborative ways in two areas—setting goals for themselves and their child and supporting their child’s learning and development.
    • Family outcomes in the areas of parent-child relationships, transitions, and advocacy and leadership may require additional focus from program staff.
    • Some discrepancies exist between parent and staff reports of how families’ culture and values are considered in service provision.

Together, the findings suggest that programs excel in a number of areas but may require more support or focus in others. More data in specific areas, including program foundations (for example, program leadership, continuous improvement, and professional development), could be useful for providing a better understanding of family engagement and service provision in Head Start.

The preliminary data in this report describe parents’ and staffs’ perspectives on the family engagement activities and service provision in Head Start programs. This includes information on: (1) How parents describe the environment of Head Start programs; (2) What staff are involved in family engagement efforts; (3) How parents and staff (teachers and family services staff) describe their relationships and interactions with one another; and (4) How programs engage with community partners to provide comprehensive services to families. Finally, the report discusses how the reported family engagement activities align with the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework.


Head Start: The Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Time Frame


Senior Staff

Nikki Aikens
Read More

Lizabeth Malone
Read More

Louisa Tarullo
Read More

Elizabeth Cavadel
Read More