On Tuesday, January 28th from 10am-2pm, almost sixteen representatives from the four children and youth services planning tables in the southeast region, together with the four planners/coordinators, gathered in Kingston for a small group working session, facilitated by Theresa Dostaler from Synergy Research and Evaluation Consulting. The group was well mixed with representation from education, health, mental health, developmental services, community and social services.
The objectives of the day were to:
- Review the information gathered from over 100 service providers during the interactive exercises at the February 14th and 15th symposiums.
- Develop the concepts and wording to be included in a common definition of parent engagement.
- Develop a plan for next steps within the region with respect to developing a common definition of parent engagement.
Everyone agreed that the term “family” should be used instead of “parent” because it more accurately reflects the relations and significant people that may exist in the life of a child or youth. Based on the research and input gathered, it was also agreed that our regional definition will need to be broad and multi-faceted. Accordingly, the group drafted a list of “shared understanding” statements called “Guiding Principles for Family Engagement”, which contain such ideas as, “Family engagement can be seen as a continuum” and “Family engagement and youth engagement are not the same.”
This work will be further developed by the planners/coordinators in liaison with planning table representatives. A final report, including a common definition/shared understanding/guiding principles, engagement strategies, resources and tools will be available to planning tables in March 2014.