Building Agency Capacity to Improve Parent Engagement Practices in Ottawa


Parents and caregivers are the most influential figures in their children’s lives and are invaluable partners for organizations who strive to improve the lives and children and their families.


Parent, caregivers and community members all play meaningful roles in continuous program improvements and decision making. 


Organizations work with parents and their families in a number of ways including building parenting, family advocacy, and leadership skills for the purpose of changing the public system on behalf of themselves and their children.



The following collection of tools were adapted from the Parents, Developing Leaders A Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits and Schools tool developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.



These tools are designed to help organizations assess their family engagement and capacity building capacities as well as recommendations for next steps.

Adobe Acrobat Document 8.1 MB

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Parent Engagement Logic Model.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 532.6 KB


Parent Engagement Tool COVID lens.pdf
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Five Key Principles Integrated into the Tool:

  1. Focus on engaging families based on their strengths
  2. Focus on the primacy parent, family and community voice
  3. Believe in fostering co-creation and co-ownership of solutions.
  4. Acknowledge that there are institutional, systemic and structural barriers that perpetuate inequality
  5. Commit to transparency and sharing accountability for the results sought.

Four Domains for Effective and Authentic Parent Engagement:

  1. Build a culture of request, inclusion and equity to help shape all the work your organization does with families.  Lifting up racial equity is the first step in creating an organizational environment and culture that respects all families.
  2. Coach parents on the competence and confidence in their roles, working with parents instead of simply imparting information, and communicating and interacting with them in ways that build their confidence in their ability to address challenges themselves.
  3. Listen to and collaborates with parents, from how you design programs and communicate with parents and caregivers to how you engage them in the leadership of the organizations itself.
  4. Work with other organizations and communities to benefit parents by not only helping parents navigate the system but also coordinating and collaborating with other organizations and government agencies to streamline programs and services to maximize the resources you have for families.