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The promise of Statewide Family Engagement Centers

Posted By Vito Borrello, Friday, April 6, 2018
We are thrilled that Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) were included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018 which was signed by the President on Friday. Approximately $10 million of funds will enable a crucial opportunity to advance high-impact policies and practices for family, school, and community engagement in up to 20 states nationally. NAFSCE applauds congressional leaders including Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and Congressman Glen Thompson for their tireless, bipartisan work to include SFEC funding in this spending bill, as well as the National PTA and others who have advocated for the appropriation of funds to advance this effort. The concept for SFECs was created by NAFSCE's predecessor, the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group, which included prominent researchers, practitioners, as well as the Harvard Family Research Project (now the Global Family Research Project), National PTA, and others. SFECs were first advanced as part of the Family Engagement in Education Act of 2010 (HR5211), as an evolution of the Parent Information Resource Centers (PIRCs), which were defunded in 2011. SFECs were finally passed by Congress as part of the federal education legislation, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was approved in December 2016. The challenge since then has been to secure appropriated funds to make these centers a reality. With this funding, statewide organizations in up to 20 states will receive at least $500,000 to build capacity for and advance high-impact family engagement in partnership with their State Education Agencies (SEAs). NAFSCE anticipates that the Department of Education will release proposed regulations and offer an opportunity for public comment in the coming months, followed by a Request for Proposals. We look forward to engaging our members in the implementation of this effort and we will keep you all apprised of its progress. NAFSCE is already working closely with the Council of Chief State School Officers and others on the creation of birth through grade 12 family engagement frameworks in 16 states, and we look forward to building on this effort. This is great news for all of us and all of you, who work so tirelessly to promote family engagement as a vital strategy for improving children's learning and advancing equity.

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