Learning from parents and the agencies who serve them

In the summer and fall of 2016, Great Expectations embarked on two listening and learning efforts to gain insights from parents and providers in our community.

Forsyth Family Voices trained service providers from across the county to interview over 300 parents and caregivers about what families truly need to help their children succeed.

The Early Childhood Service System Analysis, conducted in partnership with The Forsyth Promise, worked with local agencies to scan and create a comprehensive map of all services that impact early childhood development to understand any gaps or needs for alignment. Both of these efforts emphasized the importance of sharing and being responsive to data.

FFV ECSSA Parents Surveyed

What we learned

Together, we collected data about types of services, numbers served, parent perspectives, access to services, and more. A few things we learned are:

  • Parents reported strong confidence in supporting their children’s learning at home, and prioritize being a leader in their child’s success.
  • 68 percent of parents reported they need more information about health and education services for their children or their family.
  • 75 percent of children age 0-5 are not enrolled in licensed childcare and 14 percent of that same group are on a waitlist for childcare subsidies.
  • Family support programs in Forsyth County could operate more efficiently if they had a mechanism to share information about who they are serving and where to refer families in need of supplemental services.
  • Non-white families faced barriers to medical care and employment. Over 50 percent of Latino families reported they could not afford a needed medical appointment and over 35 percent of African American families reported struggling to pay rent and find work.

Where we're going

These efforts—and our own dialogues in Forsyth County—have helped us focus the Great Expectations 2017 strategy. Learn more by reading our 2017 Funding Announcement.

“To ensure that all children living in Forsyth County enter kindergarten ready to learn, we need to continually listen to parents and promote data sharing between social service agencies. In this way, we’re discovering what’s working, what isn’t, and what we collectively as a community can do to foster the kind of change that’s needed to help children, families, and our entire community prosper,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, President of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

We know that listening to and learning from the families we serve is essential to foster equity and truly improve educational outcomes. That’s why we will continue these efforts with more agencies, who are talking to even more parents, throughout the life of Great Expectations.

Download the full Forsyth Family Voices report and Early Childhood Service System Analysis report for more details.