Family Engagement Trainings

The National Center for Community Schools (NCCS), DYCD’s Family Engagement technical assistance provider, will offer a menu of professional development sessions to all DYCD programs from December 2017 – June 2018. All trainings will take place at NCCS’ office located at 475 Riverside Drive, suite 1220, New York, 10015. Here is a sneak preview of the training topics.

Introduction to Circles of Support: Family Engagement Framework

This interactive half-day workshop will introduce DYCD’s Family Engagement Framework and review the research on family engagement and its connection to healthy youth and family development. Participants will create their programmatic vision and goals for increasing family engagement and strengthening the home/school/community connection.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Explore research and best practices for engaging families;
  • Gain an understanding of DYCD’s Family Engagement Framework: Circles of Support;
  • Explore the benefits of engaging families as partners to support healthy development; and
  • Explore strategies for how programs can support deeper levels of family engagement

Circles of Support: Creating a Family Welcoming Environment

The interactive half-day workshop will explore strategies for how to create program spaces that are culturally responsive, inviting and provide multiple opportunities for families to network and contribute their ideas, learn new skills and access services to meet their needs. Participants will be introduced to Circles of Support; DYCD’s new Family Engagement Framework and will develop an action plan for how to transform their program spaces into welcoming environments for families.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Gain a greater understanding of the factors that contribute to a welcoming environment
  • Assess current program environment and how that impacts family engagement
  • Practice strategies for creating a positive and welcoming environment for families
  • Explore strategies and resources for creating culturally responsive spaces for families

Circles of Support: The Power of Relationships

This interactive half-day workshop will explore the common challenges to family engagement and identify key strategies that engage families as partners and supports parenting throughout the stages of development. Participants will walk away with new approaches for how staff can address key barriers and develop positive relationships with their families.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Gain a greater understanding of DYCD’s Circles of Supports Framework
  • Review research and best practices on the power of parent/child relationships and family engagement
  • Explore key strategies and approaches to developing positive relationships with families
  • Practice strategies and skills for developing authentic and positive relationships with families

Customizing Family Engagement Strategies:

Engaging Immigrant Families

This workshop is designed for DYCD providers working with immigrant families. Through interactive and reflective activities, participants will gain a better understanding of the experiences, strengths, and challenges faced by many immigrant families as they adjust to living in the United States. Participants will also explore resources tailored to best support the needs of immigrant families and strategies for how to engage them as partners.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Understand the different socio-emotional factors that may affect many immigrant families
  • Deepen our understanding on how to address the academic and socio-emotional needs of immigrant families
  • Explore strategies that are tailored to the specific circumstances and challenges that keep immigrant families from participating in and partnering with our programs.

Special Populations: Connecting Runaway, Homeless and Vulnerable Youth (RHY) with their Circles of Support

Family conflict and maltreatment is a key risk factor to youth experiencing homelessness. Research tells us that helping youth strengthen relationships with their family, when appropriate; is key to preventing and ending youth homelessness. This work requires a cultural shift where families are recognized for their strengths, and engaged in developing a plan that promotes wellness. This interactive workshop is designed for DYCD RHY program directors and managers. Participants will explore strategies for stabilizing RHY and connecting them to their circles of support.

Note: the terms “homeless” and “runaway” is used interchangeably as both groups lack adequate shelter and are at a greater risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors while living on the streets.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of DYCD’s Family Engagement Framework: Circles of Support
  • Explore strategies for developing SEL competencies of RHY
  • Explore strategies to help stabilize RHY by reuniting them with their families when possible and/or identify their circles of support.

Special Populations: Engaging Fathers

Research tells us that positive interactions between fathers and their children promote healthy physical, emotional, social and ethical development. Children who grow up with their fathers do better across a range of outcomes: lower rates of drug and alcohol use, less teen pregnancy, better school performance and successful relationships as they age. In this interactive workshop, participants will explore strategies for how to engage and support fathers to have an active role in the healthy development of their child(ren).

Learning Objectives:

  • Broaden our understanding of the experiences of fathers involved in DYCD’s Fatherhood Initiative
  • Deepen our understanding of how to help fathers with their own needs and parenting role
  • Assess individual program’s capacity to create a father friendly environment
  • Identify strategies that are tailored to meet the specific circumstances that keep fathers from participating in and partnering with our programs.

Circles of Support: Family Engagement Practitioner Networks

The Family Engagement Practitioner Networks are designed to engage DYCD program staff in a community of learners where issues of practice are explored, discussed and strengthened. As learning partners, practitioners will assess programmatic needs; reflect and engage in deep discussions around case studies in their practice, share innovative strategies and resources; identify interventions and develop solutions to address their challenges in practice and promote best practices from the field. The Practitioner Networks’ core elements include:

  • Centralized Topical Trainings – informed by participants needs and interest
  • Customized One-to-One Support through Technical Assistance/Coaching Site Visits
  • Program Tools/Resources

Practitioner Network 1:

Inclusivity, Engagement and Voice: Creating Family Centered Environments

Program Directors, Assistant Directors and Family Engagement Specialists will explore and practice strategies for how to effectively elicit and utilize family input to develop leadership at every level of the program design, activity/project planning and facilitation. Ultimately, the goal is for DYCD programs to create a space that provides meaningful opportunities for families to take more ownership, where their opinions and ideas matter and facilitates experiences where they are making a difference in their community.

By participating in this Practitioner Network, participants will:

  • Increase their knowledge of how to promote collaborative environments where families learn from each other
  • Increase their ability to engage and retain family members as leaders and decision-makers in their programs
  • Learn strategies for how to strengthen and promote partnerships between families and program staff
  • Explore strategies for how to encourage and promote families to share their voice and make a difference in their community

The Practitioner Networks are best fit for individuals who:

  • Have the ability to create and implement programming with families.
  • Feel motivated to learn more about Civic Engagement and Creating Family Centered Environments
  • Can commit to regularly attending trainings, meetings and events scheduled from February – May 2018
  • Have a team of colleagues at their site that can support the implementation of ideas, strategies and program content with NCCS’s support, advice and guidance.
  • Can identify a staff to serve as the main point of contact for NCCS and communicate regularly about their progress.

If you are interested in participating in NCCS’ family engagement professional development series, contact Lissette Gomez at National Center for Community Schools at (646)867-6668 or

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