When parents share their unique perspective and experiences with other families in order to help improve programs for children, then they are leaders. A parent leader can be anyone in a parenting role: parent, foster parent, grandparent, relative or other guardian.
Parents show leadership in a variety of ways, such as encouraging other parents to be involved, participating in community meetings, school advisory committee, focus groups, or speaking at conferences or meetings. Parent leaders may advocate for child issues with local, state or national decision-makers (e.g. mayors, school boards, legislators). The value of parent voices has the potential to impact not only their homes but their neighborhoods, communities and states.
Parent Café events are often hosted by family serving agencies throughout the state. These parent focused events encourage self-reﬂection and peer-to-peer learning with other parents to promote collaboration and leadership. Parent Cafés provide a safe, non-judgmental opportunity for parents and caregivers to engage in conversations about what it means to keep their children safe and families strong. Conversations are structured around questions related to each of the five Strengthening Families protective factors.
Community Café events are hosted by various family and community serving agencies in Missouri. A Community Café brings parents, caregivers, and community members together to share and support one another. A Community Café creates a safe space for conversation about how to support families and children within the community.