Recording: Lifting Up Diverse Family Voices

The Why, What, and How of Lifting Up Diverse Family Voices in Head Start Programs

In Head Start programs, parent, family, and community engagement (PFCE) strategies are systemic, integrated, and comprehensive, and “family engagement is everyone’s business.” In order to engage with families effectively, leaders must establish strong program foundations and set the vision for the whole team. Program leaders must ensure that the organizational culture and systems provide staff with the fundamentals to engage in reflective practice and go deep in understanding each family. And it’s up to leaders to advocate for the inclusion of diverse family voices throughout the program.

In this recording of Lifting Up Diverse Family Voices, presenters explore how integrating family voice helps programs meet Head Start Performance standards and shows up in the PFCE framework, and the unique role that program leaders play in this process. The presenters explore:

  • The Why: according to the research, why incorporating family voice is important for positive family and child outcomes
  • The What: What families say is important to them, including real-life examples from the voices of Head Start families
  • The How: How program leaders can lay the foundation for authentically incorporating family voice into their programs

Resources to help engage in self-reflection and begin the process to incorporate more diverse family voices into the next program year:


Sandy Oceguera, is the Sr. Data Product Manager at NHSA. Her background includes 5 years in social services and 5 years in big data analytics lending her a unique perspective in utilizing and developing NHSA’s data products, including Parent Gauge, usefulness for the field. Sandy holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Colorado State University with a specialization in public and nonprofit management.



Mallary Swartz, Ph.D, Senior Director of Learning and Impact at ParentPowered and an applied researcher in family engagement and early childhood. She has spent 20 years cultivating relationships, managing partnerships, and leading research, evaluation, and innovation projects at family-focused organizations such as Start Early, Fred Rogers Productions, and Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Mallary also served as Co-Principal Investigator for the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. She has a Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University, an M.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a B.A. from Duke University.

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