In July 2013, Union County Community Action, Inc., received notification of award of the North Carolina Race to the Top Family Engagement Technical Assistance grant though he North Carolina Head Start-State Collaboration Office. UCCA was awarded this grant, in large part, due to the agency’s extensive experience and demonstrated proficiency in the development and deployment of effective family engagement frameworks in the Head Start and Early Head Start programs, operated by UCCA, across Anson, Richmond and Union counties. The total funding amount for this award is $55,000, with these funds being used to conduct training and technical assistance services across the five counties included in Race to the Top hub-16, including: Anson, Montgomery, Richmond, Stanly and Union counties.
On Saturday, UCCA held its live family engagement technical assistance training for public and private child care providers in Anson County. This live training was organized by Kishi Tillman, UCCA family services manager, with support from Helen Watkins of ICF International. Watkins is an early childhood education specialist, a certified family lifelong educator and serves under the North Carolina Training and Technical Assistance Network.
Family engagement is a cornerstone of Head Start and Early Head Start programs across the country, with demonstrated benefits in maintaining high quality early childhood education and development services. Family engagement principles focused on during the training and technical assistance provided through Race to the Top mirror the Head Start framework by centering on nurturing, within parents and guardians, an active and ongoing interest in their child’s development; becoming, or remaining, regularly involved in the activities of their child’s childcare program; establishing effective methods of ongoing, two-way communication; and supporting successful transitions of children into other preschool programs or Kindergarten. In addition to the realized benefits of effective family engagement frameworks in early childhood education and development, under the North Carolina Tiered Quality Rating System (TQRIS) program, day care licensing for private and public childcare providers across the state is expected to incorporate family engagement in consideration for the star ratings of providers.
The training and technical assistance provided by UCCA to providers in Anson County will grant participating providers with an opportunity to gain an advanced understanding of best practices in establishing an effective family engagement framework. As stated by Tillman, “the training and technical support on incorporating an effective family engagement framework will provide tools for providers to implement a system that will increase the comprehensive quality of the services provided to the families served.” Family engagement and technical assistance services provided to Anson County child care providers free of charge, and will continue until April, 2014, through a series of interactive web-based trainings, and on-site coaching activities.
Interested providers in Anson County may still sign up to participate in the family engagement training and technical assistance services. For more information on how to register for the family engagement technical assistance and training, interested parties should contact Kishi Tillman, UCCA Family Services manager, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 704-283-1069, extension 232.