- February 2006
- Vol. 7, No. 1
Family Engagement Strategies in Youth Development
Youth development organizations have the opportunity to strengthen families in low-income communities by engaging parents and other caregivers in activities and programs for youth. According to a policy brief from the Family Strengthening Policy Center, involving parents and caregivers in the decision-making processes and in advisory and leadership roles in youth development can benefit all parties:
- Youth have increased communication and develop stronger bonds with parents or caregivers in a structured environment, where trained staff can help families work through tensions or conflicts.
- Parents or caregivers develop greater confidence in parenting, build ties with their community, and obtain greater access to services and supports.
- Organizations obtain volunteers at a time when financial cuts to human services programs make it more difficult to staff and run these programs.
The policy brief includes a series of case studies from youth development organizations that have implemented family engagement strategies. These include programs to promote civics, develop healthy and active lifestyles, maintain connections between incarcerated mothers and their daughters, and establish community family clubs.
The policy brief, Family Strengthening in Youth Development, can be found on the website of the Family Strengthening Policy Center, a program of the National Human Services Assembly funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.