Advancing Family Economic Mobility in New England: A Regional Learning Community on Parent Engagement and Leadership

Advancing Family Economic Mobility in New England: A Regional Learning Community on Parent Engagement and Leadership

Published: Jun 28, 2024
Publisher: Mathematica
Key Findings
  • Participants reported that a safe and welcoming meeting culture, small-group breakout sessions, and parent leaders sharing their perspectives helped participants share and learn during meetings
  • Nearly all 24 survey respondents (96 percent) reported that attending learning community meetings increased their understanding of policy options, best practices, and innovations for engaging parents, including ways to initiate, build, and sustain parent engagement
  • Participants reported that meetings helped strengthen their relationships with other New England state, parents, and federal agencies
  • Federal staff who facilitated the learning community shared what they learned from meetings with federal staff at the national level, informing components of ACF’s work on lived experience and engaging parents
  • 63 percent of survey respondents reported that they made, are in the process of making, or plan to make practice, program, or policy changes related to engaging parents

Mathematica conducted a process evaluation of a New England regional learning where state leaders across different sectors share and learn best practices, innovations, and solutions with each other related to parent engagement in state work. The learning community includes a mix of state agency and federal agency participants, parent leaders, philanthropy, and non-profit organization participants, and is facilitated by a leadership team made up of the ACF regional administrator for Region 1, an ACF regional program specialist, and a state co-lead.

This brief describes the activities of the learning community from December 2021 to December 2023 and includes takeaways related to how facilitators planned and facilitated meetings, meeting attendance, how sharing and learning occurred, what participants learned and collaboration examples, and changes participants made to their agency or states' practices, policies, and programs. The purpose of the learning community is to help cross-sector leaders in six New England states learn the ingredients to start, maintain, and succeed in embedding parent voice and leadership in their state's practices, programs, and policies.

“At the end, the goal is the same—it’s to break intergenerational poverty…I say ‘steal with zeal’: If there’s something that is working in Vermont that we think might work here, well, let’s do that. If Connecticut has something, we might tweak it.” - Parent engagement learning community participant

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