Strengthening Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement Approaches with Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
- Programs follow Head Start’s eligibility requirements and use information from their annual community needs assessment to help them identify and prioritize families for recruitment, enrollment and retention.
- Programs often follow the same eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment and attendance/retention (ERSEA) approaches across the families they serve, but may adapt them to ensure families with heightened needs can overcome barriers to participation.
- Community partners play an instrumental role in the recruitment, enrollment, attendance and retention of families in Head Start and establishing and maintaining trusting relationships with these partners may be a key strategy for engaging and supporting families most in need of services.
This report summarizes findings from the case studies of Head Start programs, including how Head Start programs identify families most in need of their services; how the programs reach and retain these families; and key themes about the ERSEA approaches that programs use to reach and support them. Based on these findings, the report provides considerations for practice and potential directions for future research to understand how Head Start can identify and reach families that are most in need of services.