Family Support and the Family Support Staff
Family Services support Head Start families and encourage success in achieving their goals. Family Support Staff assist and support families by providing resources and information for local resources. Family Support Staff work in partnership with the family and encourage them to set goals towards getting out of poverty. Head Start strives to empower families towards greater confidence, self-reliance, and independence to seek out necessary resources, thus becoming their family’s own advocate.
Family Support FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why Does Head Start Have Family Support Staff?
The Family Support Staff are assigned to each family to provide support and resources. Staff are available to assist families in a number of situations including setting goals. Goal can be big or small and are developed by the family to get them where they want to go. Goals can include; budgeting, repairing credit or setting up a bank account. They can also include things like education or finding or getting better employment, transportation or getting your license so you can stay in school or at work.
What can I expect from my Family Support Staff?
- The Family Support Staff are usually one of the first people you see from Head Start. They start out the year with your family and get to know who you are and how they might be able to help you. They also set up a time for your first Home Visit with your child’s teacher.
- Head Start requires that all families participate in the family partnership process. Family Support Staff will set up a time with you in September or October to do the Family Partnership Agreement.
- Family Support Staff are required to make monthly phone calls to each family to review goals and see if there are any changes in your family situation and to see if there is any way they can help out.
- They may call if your child is absent to see how they can help.
- The Family Support Staff also have a section in your monthly classroom newsletter.
What can take place during a visit or the monthly phone call?
A visit can take place at your child’s center, at your home, or at a neutral location. During the visit, your Family Support Staff can assist you with setting goals for your family and provide you with resources to help you accomplish your goals. If you have requested information from them they and will make sure you received what you needed and were happy with the services provided. Any concerns or questions may be addressed at this time.
Why all the questions?
It is part of the family support staff job to help your family find target areas to help get you on your way to self sufficiency. In order to do this they need to know about your income and living situation. Any information you share with them is confidential and they respect your privacy. If you are not comfortable sharing something with them please just tell them you do not want to discuss that issue. The information is also used to monitor how the program is doing in assisting families we serve and how we can improve.
What is the Family Partnership Agreement?
The Family Partnership Agreement is a tool that families and Head Start staff use to help families get out of poverty. Families and Head Start staff work together to set family goals and make plans to reach those goals.
How often do the Family support staff meet with families?
At the beginning of the year the Family Support Staff meet with families at least twice to get all of the paperwork done and get to know the family. After the first two home visits they meet with families as often as the family wants them to. This could be once a week, twice a month or every other month. It all depends on the families needs. We want to work hard with people who are motivated to get ahead in life and get their families out of poverty. Family Support Staff are required to do at least three Home Visits with each family throughout the year.
Why would I want to set goals?
Goals give us direction to see our way out of poverty. We have found that families who set goals with the Family Support Staff and have some additional support have a better chance of achieving those goals. Family Support Staff act as a cheerleader for your family and celebrate your successes as you achieve them.
What if I need additional resources?
If you need additional resources, you may contact your Family Support Staff at any time. They have resources available on a variety of topics, including but not limited to: budgeting, credit card debit reduction, taxes, basic needs, health & safety, education/employment, parenting, child development, family concerns, individual adult needs, pregnancy/infant.