We are proud to invest in a new approach for how we best partner with families who are struggling to make ends meet. We believe to better serve those families, we and our partners need to take a more family-centered approach to better consider the unmet needs and aspirations of the families we are trying to help. Unfortunately, there’s no single, replicable way for an agency or program to become family-centered. So, we are setting out to learn with and from our partners on the best ways to put families at the center of what we do.
Family-centered learning is a philosophy that informs how professionals, programs, agencies, and systems approach working with families. It is an approach that puts the needs of the entire family first; and regardless of the services an agency provides, the primary purpose of adopting these practices is to build family capacity.
“This family-centered approach is perfect for what we’ve been doing, and we’re just looking forward to having the additional support from United Way and having more partners who are on board with the work that we’ve been doing,” said Tyran Stallings, founder, D.A.D. Initiative, one of United Way’s new agency partners.
On March 5, more than 300 people came together at the Cintas Center for United Way’s Family-Centered Learning Launch — a day of learning with our partners as we work together to create long-term solutions and system changes across the region for families in poverty.
The charge is clear: We must produce and scale services that help the whole family, not just one or two members. We have to engage families in the decision-making process and meet them where they are. We must break the cycle of racial disparities. And we must offer this help in stronger, faster more collaborative ways.
“This is a new era of learning that will change the way we help families,” said Rob Reifsnyder, president, United Way of Greater Cincinnati.
Now we put the ideas into practice – the next step as we tackle our shared goal of helping families move out of poverty for good.
Our partners shared ideas such as:
• Invite families to be on boards so their voices are heard
• Think of the work as “partnering” with families rather than “serving” families
• Value collaboration and seek content experts at other organizations for areas where you may lack
“Having partnerships like United Way and other agencies that are already making a difference in the community, we will be better equipped to serve these families,” said Rosemary Oglesby-Henry, found, Rosemary’s Babies, a new agency partner for 2018.