Prevention Through Collaboration: Family Engagement With Rural Schools and Families Living in Poverty


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Article abstract: Many families living in rural poverty endure toxic stress and trauma, contributing to challenges in engaging
with their children's schools. Rural schools also face challenges in partnering with these families. Family engagement as a
prevention approach, implemented by a team of social workers in collaboration with a rural school district, is presented as a case example to describe an emerging model. The conceptual framework, developed through a community-based participatory research approach, is (a) strengths-based, to support and enhance the parents' existing capacity; (b) trauma-informed, to understand and respond to the physiological and psychosocial impact of toxic stress; and (c) systems-focused, to facilitate change within the school system to make it responsive to the families' needs and strengths.

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