Partnering with Head Start and Early Childhood Programs

Many families participating in early childhood programs are affected by domestic violence. Domestic violence can have negative impacts on parents, children, and their relationships. Fortunately, relationships with caring and supportive adults are a protective resource for families who have experienced domestic violence. Early childhood programs can support children during times of stress, provide information and referrals to parents, and develop partnerships with domestic violence programs to support families. They can implement universal violence prevention strategies to build a culture that promotes healthy relationships. 

FUTURES has many resources to help early childhood programs collaborate to support families experiencing domestic violence. The following resources for early childhood program staff and administrators were developed in collaboration with the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE). They can help early childhood programs understand the impact of domestic violence on children and families and support healing and resilience with other child-serving organizations. View the Preventing and Responding to Domestic Violence Webinar Series from FUTURES and NCPFCE here

FUTURES & NCPFCE have also developed a 2.5-day train-the-trainers curriculum for Head Start and Early Head Start programs called “Families Thrive, Zero to Five: Increasing the Capacity of Head Start and Early Head Start Programs to Prevent and Respond to Domestic Violence.” For more information, please email Futures Without Violence at childrensteam@futureswithoutviolence.org.

Collaboration Strategies for Domestic Violence and Early Childhood Programs:

  • Contracting with Head Start or early childhood programs to provide training and TA
  • Offering early childhood programs parent engagement workshops, staff training, present at early childhood conferences or regional meetings.
  •  Establishing an MOU between domestic violence coalitions, local domestic violence programs, and early childhood programs with regards to referrals, case management, information sharing, and cross training.
  • Developing policies and procedures for identifying and responding to domestic violence within families and staff in a safe and supportive manner.
  • Creating formalized partnerships with early childhood programs
  • Training early childhood program staff, administrators and parent leaders with the information they need to engage families, handle mandatory reporting requirements, identify and prevent vicarious trauma, and implement culturally relevant responses.
  • Developing and disseminating best practices, resources, and support for programs to implement universal prevention activities and to effectively intervene.