Addressing Barriers to Successful Engagement of Immigrant and Refugee Parents of Young Children
Miriam Calderon, Senior Partner, School Readiness Consulting; and former Senior Policy Advisor for Early Learning, Domestic Policy Council, The White House
Eliza Leighton, Director of Promise Neighborhood Langley Park Program, CASA de Maryland
Margie McHugh, Director, MPI National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy
Maki Park, Policy Analyst and Program Coordinator, MPI National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy
Across the United States policymakers and community leaders are pushing forward a range of historic new investments that seek to put all children on an even footing before kindergarten begins. Parents are a central focus of these strategies since they play the most important role in their children’s cognitive and socioemotional development and also because they control their children’s access to program supports.
The era of early childhood system-building is coinciding, in some senses colliding, with the impacts of an equally historic chapter in U.S. immigration policy. Decades of high rates of immigration have transformed the demographics of the country’s young families, placing the early childhood field on the front line of efforts that are essential to meet the integration needs of foreign-born parents.
To better understand the experiences and challenges faced by early childhood programs and immigrant and refugee parents as they seek to connect with one another, the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy (NCIIP) conducted a study seeking to identify the unique needs of newcomer parents and recommendations for addressing them. MPI partnered with leading organizations in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington state to conduct field work for the study, which spans the range of early childhood parent skill, engagement, and leadership programs.
This discussion of the report’s findings includes a preview of new state-level sociodemographic data on foreign-born parents of young children compiled by MPI. Presenters discuss the top-line data and findings from the report, barriers facing immigrant parents, and challenges and opportunities facing policymakers in this arena.