Thursday, June 26, 2014

Using Café Conversations to Build Parent Leadership

Parent engagement is critical to the success of community change efforts focused on achieving better results for children and families. In communities around the country, café conversations have emerged as a popular method for facilitating meaningful, reflective dialogue that promotes parent leadership and collaboration.

The goal of cafes is to create an intimate environment where parents, caregivers and community members can share and support each other as a strategy for strengthening families. Cafés are designed to build the five Protective Factors that research shows increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child neglect and abuse:
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

To learn more about what cafés are and how they are used, read a new overview from the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The document highlights some of the most widely used café models and includes a checklist of core elements that should be present for cafés to be successful in building parent leadership and protective factors, regardless of the model used.

For a variety of other resident engagement tools, check out the Building Neighborhood Capacity Resource Center.

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