Posting: Strong Beginnings Pilot- Purpose
June 10, 2021
Strong Beginnings Pilot- Purpose
Michigan offers the Strong Beginnings pilot for three-year-old children, all of whom have factors
which may place them at risk for low educational attainment. The program is administered by
the CCRESA Strong Beginnings Implementation Team under the direction of the Michigan
Department of Education, Office of Great Start (MDE-OGS). Research on two-year preschool
programs indicates that children provided with a high-quality preschool experience for the two
years proceeding kindergarten show significant positive developmental differences when
compared to children from the same backgrounds who attended a high-quality preschool
program for only one year.
To strengthen learning at home and strengthen positive child outcomes, programs must
provide for active and continuous involvement of *parents in the learning process. In Strong
Beginnings, this includes a Family Partnership Process that utilizes individualized goal setting
to explore parents’ hopes and strengthen their skills and confidence for the future.
Depending on income level, parents may be required to pay tuition, but parents are never
charged additional fees for program elements such as transportation or meal service. Through
advisory committees, parents assist to evaluate and make recommendations about the
Family Liaison Requirements:
- B.A. or B.S. degree in social work, family studies or a related field involving practicum experience with families.
- 1 full-time Family Liaison required for every 3 Strong Beginnings classrooms (42 families)
- Hired, supervised, and provided with reflective supervision and professional development by the ISD
- Family Liaisons should generally meet individually with each family three times yearly, at their home or in a mutually agreeable location, to develop and review goals and implementation steps, modifying them as necessary based on progress and/or change in family circumstances.
- Family Liaison's complete documentation of the initial planning conference
- a narrative description of the meeting
- the date
- the signatures of the staff member(s) and the parent.
- Provide an opening for parents to receive support in the use of a parent led individualized goal setting process that explores their hopes for the future and increases their skills and confidence.
Family Liaison Role:
- Implement the Family Partnership Process developed/selected by the ISD
- Recruitment of and conducting intake interviews with families enrolling in Strong Beginnings
- Ensuring families with urgent basic needs receive necessary support
- Assisting with welcoming families into the program
- Supporting children and families struggling with separation issues in the classroom
- Greeting families at drop off and pick up time or riding the bus that transports children in order to keep informed of any changes in family context or needs
- Contacting families of any children with unexplained absences soon after the program begins each day
- Planning, inviting parents to and supporting/delivering content at parent meetings and events
- Offering a research-based group parenting support series at least once per year.
- Strong Beginnings is a tiered model of support where families who need and desire the most services receive the highest level of supports.
○ Families in the first tier who need the least support might benefit from participation in group parenting sessions (using a research-based model)
○ Families in the higher tier might be best supported through co-enrollment in an evidenced based home visiting program operating in the community.
- Family Liaisons facilitate the connection to community resources and help familiesadvance goals that are important to them such as
- improving family health
- stabilizing housing situations
- strengthening parenting skills
- improving parents’ education
- employment and financial stability.
- Teachers and Family Liaisons work together with parents to write referrals for suspected or diagnosed disabilities or other developmental needs of the child. After the visit, staff members follow up by working with the Early Childhood Specialist, district, and parents to locate and access special education services needed by the child
- Teaching staff and the Family Liaison complete the home visit together.
- Family Liaison participates in parent/teacher conferences, they should attend those they can, even if it is just to greet the parent.
- Encourage participation of families in the Great Start Collaborative school readiness committee representing Strong Beginnings
*Each Intermediate School District (ISD) is required to have Strong Beginnings parent
representation on the regional Great Start Collaborative (GSC) Parent Coalition
*The Family Liaison Supervisor will also be a member of the Great Start Collaborative,
School Readiness Advisory Group and ISD level Data Analysis Team