National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

What Does the Research Say About Partnerships with Families?

For young children, the quality of their earliest relationships with their parents and caregivers will affect their intellectual, social and physical development. Children who experience the world as responsive to their needs, predictable, and supportive will have the emotional foundations that make them ready to learn (Norman-Murch, 1996).

research on partnerships with familiesChildren can succeed when they experience similar messages, expectations, goals, values, priorities, and supports from families, schools, and communities.

Partnering with families helps to build these bridges across home and care settings. Additionally, research says:

  • The influence of the family upon the child remains fundamental throughout these early years. It is important to link subsequent steps in children's education to their earlier experiences and to involve the parents in these activities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1987).
  • Programs that demonstrate and support partnering with families tend to have families that feel more confident and comfortable in supporting their children’s development (Wilcox & Weber, 2001).
  • When services incorporate practices that promote partnerships with families, outcomes for family and children are improved including parenting capabilities and positive child behavior and functioning (Dempsey & Keen, 2008; Dunst, Trivette & Hamby, 2008).




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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation