State coalition, including Children, Inc., gets $5m grant to create Statewide Family Engagement Center

Kentucky is one of only 11 states to receive grants to create a Statewide Family Engagement Center, a project that includes Children, Inc. as a partner.

Kentucky families will benefit through a five-year, $5 million U.S. Department of Education grant to create the center.The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) will support The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence in implementing family engagement and family literacy programs across the commonwealth.

Founded in Kentucky, NCFL’s research-based family learning model has been proven to increase student attendance and academic success, create and improve family/school partnerships, and train educators to provide learning environments that support families’ goals. 

“Family engagement is key to a student’s success,” said Sharon Darling, NCFL president and founder. “This grant has the power to make a real impact on all families and can be a powerful tool in closing the achievement gap. When families are empowered, and parents support and guide their children, we see not only the children succeed, but parents are also lifted. That’s good for everyone – children, families, schools, communities and our commonwealth.”

The Kentucky Statewide Family Engagement Center’s goals include:

· Improving academic achievement for low-achieving and low-income students;

· Empowering parents of those students with the information and tools to make good choices for their child’s education;

· Increasing family engagement and participation in programs, school decision-making, and educational policy; and,

· Train local and state education providers to administer high-quality family literacy and family engagement services.

The five-year project will give families and educators access to digital resources.

In addition, NCFL will implement family learning programs in Louisville, with a focus on students of color and non-English speaking families. This program includes adult-skill building, Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®, and Parent Time in which participants learn how to better support their children in and outside of school.

The Kentucky Family Engagement Coalition will also be created to identify and share effective family engagement practices statewide.

Other project partners include:

• Kentucky Department of Education
• Berea College
• Children, Inc. 
• Louisville Urban League
• Governor’s Office of Early Childhood
• Division of Family Resource and Youth Service Centers
• Council on Postsecondary Education / Kentucky Adult Education
• Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network
• Kentucky Latino Education Association
• Save the Children
• Hope Street Group
• Kentucky Center for Statistics
• Kentucky Association of School Councils
• Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
• Kentucky Parent Teacher Association
• Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
• Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky
• Scholar House (Louisville)
• Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

In addition to partnering on the Kentucky SFEC application, NCFL was selected by US Ed to lead the creation of an SFECs in Arizona and Nebraska.

The Kentucky program will be funded by the federal grant 100 percent the first year. The federal grant will cover 85 percent of programming the following four years. During those years, the other 15 percent will be provided by non-governmental organizations.

Over the past 30-years, Kentucky-based NCFL has broken generational cycles of poverty through family literacy programs across the U.S. A pioneer in family literacy, NCFL’s model programs have improved academic outcomes for children and fostered economic self-sufficiency in adults. Currently, NCFL is working with 330 partner sites in more than 150 communities in 39 states.