First established by Parents Anonymous® in 2000, National Parent Leadership Month® is a time to recognize, honor, and celebrate parents who serve as strong advocates for their families and their communities.
Parent Leadership is a strengths-based approach to family support founded on the belief that parents are most knowledgeable about their families and communities. By lending their voice to local, state, and national initiatives and partnering with the staff of programs in which they participate, parent leaders play a vital role in family strengthening and child abuse prevention efforts. Use this month to evaluate how you include parent voices and perspectives in your planning and implementation of programs and supports.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, providers can foster a more trusting relationship when they approach parents as the experts on their own children, listen openly to their concerns and perspectives, and seek solutions with them (rather than provide solutions to them). Parents engaged in this way are more likely to access services and welcome support. As parents strengthen their own confidence and competence through knowledge and skills-building, they improve their ability to be active forces for positive change in their own families and in their communities (FRIENDS NRC, 2010). For example, parents who actively engage with their community can establish social connections with other parents, keeping them from feeling isolated and creating a resource to get through difficult situations. Research has shown that these social connections strongly contribute to mitigating child abuse and neglect.
It’s also important to remind parents of their value and ability to make a difference not only in February but throughout the year.
In this blog post, we will share ways to recognize parents during National Parent Leadership Month and how you can promote parent engagement and leadership all year round!
Parent Engagement & Leadership: Family and Community
California Department of Social Services Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP)
- National Parent Leadership Month Toolkit and Resources (Coming soon!)
- Parent Leadership Awards Nomination Form
- Prize Parent Campaign
- Social Media Posts and Talking Points
- Download the 28 Ways to Promote Parent Leadership Calendar
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Casey Family Programs
- What Are the Key Elements for Sustaining, Expanding, and Spreading Parent Partner Programs?
- How Do Parent Partner Programs Instill Hope and Support Prevention and Reunification? (Appendix)
- Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-Being Overview Infographic
Center for the Study of Social Policy
- Parent Leader Network
- Parent Leaders in Action
- Parent Leader Network Blog
- Manifesto for Race Equity & Parent Leadership in Early Childhood Systems (en Español)
Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) Alliance
- National Parent Leadership Month
- Certificate of Appreciation (download)
- NPLM Proclamation
- Partnering with Parents
- Parent Voice
Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Parent Engagement Topic Search
- Family Engagement: Partnering with Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes
- Episode 2: Prevention: Developing and Sustaining a Parent Partner Program
FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention
- National Parent Leadership Month Downloadable Resources (English and Spanish)
- National Parent Leadership Month Certificates
- Parent Appreciation Month Postcard
- Recipe for Growth
- FRIENDS Resources on Parent Education and Parent Support
- Meaningful Parent Leadership: Building Effective Parent/Practitioner Collaboration (English and Spanish)
- Meaningful Parent Leadership A Guide
- Parent Leadership Self-Assessment Tool
- Family Leadership Self-Assessment Form for Collaboratives
- Parent Education
- Parent Leadership Development Checklist
- The Role of Parent Mutual Support
- Voices of Parent Leaders Podcast
Raising the Future (formerly Parents Anonymous®)
- Effective Parent Leadership: A Practical Approach to Meaningful Partnerships between Parents and Providers
- Parents Anonymous® is rated a 3 – Promising Research Evidence – on the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare program registry
ZERO TO THREE
- Parent Leadership in Early Childhood Systems: Lessons Learned from Three Communities
- Webinar: Parent Partnerships in Practice
Administration for Children and Families: A Starter Kit on Engaging People with Lived Experience in Child Support Programs
Circle of Parents®:
- Circle of Parents® is a collaboration between Prevent Child Abuse America and the National Family Support Roundtable
- Parent Resources and Tip Sheets (English and Spanish)
Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network: Parent Leadership Toolkit & Resources
International Parent Advocacy Network: Building a Parent Advocacy Organization Toolkit
National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement: Parent & Family Leaders Council
National Family Support Network: Parent Leadership Development Webinars
Organizing Engagement: Parent Leadership Indicators Framework
Parent Engagement & Leadership: Education
A key aspect of family engagement is including parents and caregivers in the decision-making process at their child’s school. Following are a few resources to get the conversation started.
California PTA: School Smarts for Parents Program
Kids Care Center: Five Resources for Family Engagement: Parent Leadership
Innovate Public Schools: Parent Leader Institute with Innovate Public Schools
- Family Engagement in School through Parent Leadership
- Parent Leadership and Systems Change
- Tips for Emerging Leaders
- Special Education Parent Leadership
- Children’s Mental Health Parent Leadership
Child- and family-serving professionals can also reach out to their County’s Office of Education to inquire about local parent participation and leadership opportunities!
Parent Leadership Training
Binational Parent Leadership Institute: Explore and establish an organized Parent Involvement mechanism in the Inland Empire that will provide parents with institutional leadership trainings to become effective change agents in service delivery for their families.
National Parent Leadership Institute: A nonpartisan, parent-centered, and anti-racist organization that partners with parents and communities to equip families with the civic skills, knowledge, and opportunities to be leading advocates for children at home, school, and in the community.
Parent Institute for Quality Education: Engages, empowers, and transforms families by providing the knowledge and the skills to partner with schools and communities to ensure their students achieve their full potential.
United Parent Leaders Action Network: In UPLAN, parents are in the lead, setting the agenda and defining the tools to build our power on behalf of children and families.
Extend Your Learning with CalTrin!
Access recordings and materials from these prior CalTrin-hosted trainings that focused on building social connections and authentically engaging individuals with lived experience:
Social Poverty: The Impact of Connection: This training introduced participants to the concept of social poverty, which is experienced when someone feels they do not have adequate social supports in their lives—people who they can trust to be there for them socially and emotionally. We explored how a lack of social connections may affect a parent’s participation in programs and services. View the webinar replay and access training materials in our Training Archive.
Science of Social Support: This presentation addresses how to work with those in need of expanding their social connections. Data on the benefits of social connections will be provided, in addition to understanding how a lack of connection impacts individuals mentally and physically. Techniques for assessment and development of social connections will also be shared. View the webinar replay and access training materials in our Training Archive.
Deepening Constituent Engagement: In training led by constituents of the child welfare system, we discussed the importance of engaging leaders with lived experience in our work. While we are not able to provide recordings for this training, you can access some of the training materials and resources listed in the Training Archive.
Protective Factor of the Month Series: This learning series is designed for anyone who works with children and families and focuses on concrete ways you can support the building of Protective Factors in your work. Each month, CalTrin will present one Protective Factor in an engaging lecture-style presentation, and learners have the ability to register for individual sessions of interest. Each session will be presented with optional Spanish interpretation (con interpretación en español). Click here to view the schedule and register for the sessions that meet your learning needs and schedule.
*Last updated January 30, 2024