Toddler girl smiling.

National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

Family engagement is essential to high quality early care and education

What We Work For

We work to build the capacity of the early care and education field to effectively partner with families and communities, support family well-being, and promote children’s school readiness.

How We Do It

The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE) was established to strengthen the capacity of Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care communities to achieve positive, enduring outcomes for the children and families they serve. Our goal is to promote exemplary practices for family and community engagement in support of children’s school readiness and healthy development; parent leadership and advocacy; family economic mobility; community partnerships; individualized support for families; and staff-family relationships that are equitable and culturally and linguistically responsive.

Our primary audiences include Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care communities; regional and state training and technical assistance networks; and child care administrators in states, territories, and tribes. We collaborate with other national centers in the Administration for Children and Families Early Childhood Training & Technical Assistance System to achieve our goals.

The NCPFCE develops, disseminates, and provides training and technical assistance, tools, and resources that are grounded in research- and practice-based evidence. Although our products are developed for Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care programs, the information and strategies are applicable across all early childhood education settings.

Our approach is rooted in a focus on families who may be experiencing poverty or other adversities. We recognize both the strengths and challenges of these families and understand how robust family engagement in high-quality early childhood education can open doors of opportunity for parents and their children.

Our approach reflects a strong commitment to equity with respect to race, ethnicity, language, gender, socioeconomic status, ability, and immigration status. Our approach also reflects an understanding that broad community partnerships must be established and mobilized in order to achieve the goals sought for young children in early care and education settings and provide universal and targeted resources to families.

NCPFCE seeks to achieve two long-term outcomes:

  • Families and community partners are engaged in support of children’s school readiness and healthy development and family well-being.
  • Integrated, comprehensive, and effective training and technical assistance across systems.

To achieve these goals, some of the resources our work has yielded include:

  • The Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework.
  • A webinar series about building foundations for economic mobility (BFEM).
  • The Economic Mobility Toolkit for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
  • A synthesis of content and resources for conducting racial equity workshops with Head Start audiences.
  • Reports on developing partnerships between Head Start programs and child welfare agencies.
  • A webinar series about promoting parent leadership and advocacy.
  • Relationship-based Competencies (RBCs) to support family engagement.
  • Interactive learning modules about supporting children and families experiencing homelessness.
  • Resources related to enhancing father engagement efforts in Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
  • Simulations related to boosting young children’s school readiness.

These and other resources can be accessed via the Office of Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC).


  • Boston Children’s Hospital Brazelton Touchpoints Center (lead agency)
  • Child Care Aware of America
  • Child Trends
  • Center for the Study of Social Policy 


The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE) is jointly administered by the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care.

Our Experts

Charlyn Harper Browne portrait.

Charlyn Harper Browne

Senior Fellow
She, Her, Hers