Family Voice Council

The Need

Engaging with parents and caregivers is critical to ensuring that programs and services are delivered in ways that best meet the diverse needs of families with young children. When service providers and state and local agencies collaborate effectively with members of their community, children’s development is enhanced during the early years and beyond and learning environments are safe, welcoming and responsive to the communities they serve. Positive engagement practices also support family members’ self-efficacy, confidence and advocacy skills. 

The Strategy

Launched in August of 2021, the Family Voice Council has twelve members who are diverse in race, ethnicity, language and geography. Each member has a unique lived experience caring for one or more young children. This includes experience in single parenting, caring for a child with a disability, family members supporting children such as grandparents, and a variety of utilization around early childhood programs and services. Meeting monthly, the Family Voice Council is a critical partner for CDEC when designing and implementing programs and services. 

Key Outcomes and Learnings

CDEC utilizes the feedback from the Family Voice Council to inform systems development and engage families in program-level decisions as well as create pathways for parent voice to inform state policies. Family perspectives have been critical in ensuring that all families can access the services they want and need to support their children to grow and thrive. 

The Family Voice Council has provided a space for parents and family members with lived experience to share their guidance and advocacy for programs to support families with young children. Their work has included: 

  • increasing family involvement and participation in the design and delivery of early childhood programs; 
  • participating in state-level processes including reviewing grants and proposals; 
  • leveraging their experiences and expertise to improve child and family outcomes by providing actionable and strategic feedback to CDEC; 
  • providing feedback the Early Childhood Colorado Framework, the Statewide Early Childhood Strategic Plan, the Colorado Child Care Assistance Plan Application process and other statewide matters; and 
  • creating connections between council members and CDEC to share knowledge and resources.

plum-colored gear graphic with the words family strengthening

Next Steps

The Family Voice Council continues to meet regularly.