Judy Alamprese maintains that collaboration among schools and
human service agencies at the local and state levels critically
contributes to family literacy programs because family literacy
programs require multi-faceted services from different agencies,
because staff identify integrated services as an essential part
of the program, and because the federal government encourages
collaboration for funding. Two types of programs illustrate family
literacy programs. Kentucky's Parent and Child Education program
(PACE), sponsored by the National Center for Family Literacy,
demonstrates the first category by following four components:
adult education, childhood education, parent and child interaction
time, and parenting education. The second category includes programs
that do not incorporate PACE's four components and vary by intensity,
duration, and direct and indirect services for the child.
Despite the limited number of studies on collaboration processes
at the local and state levels, information exists on program characteristics
and the challenges that programs face in using collaboration.
Collaboration in family literacy programs exists in a variety
of forms at the local and state levels. At the local level, agencies
work with education and human services agencies for funding, integration
of adult and child curricula, and coordination of support services.
Even Start and Head Start are examples of such agencies. At the
state level, collaboration occurs through legislative mandate
among state and local agencies. States, such as Hawaii, Louisiana,
and Arizona, passed legislation on family literacy. Because few
people have studied collaboration processes in family literacy,
Alamprese offers a framework about collaboration. This framework
involves strategies organizations use to develop relationships
and the communication mechanisms used to sustain these relationships.
Alamprese concludes by indicating possible areas of research
in collaboration and family literacy. Some areas include assessing
the benefits of collaboration, procedures for developing and sustaining
collaboration, and the communication mechanisms used in collaboration.
There are two main implications for education. First, schools
can act as one of the key agencies that work with family literacy
programs in collaboration. Several issues arise if a school decides
to enter a collaborative relationship, such as what kind of resources
(physical space, materials, and teacher and administrative time)
can be contributed, the parameters of the collaboration (what
kinds of overt and covert rules will guide the collaboration),
and the consequences of the long term outcomes of the collaboration.
Second, collaboration with family literacy programs may act as
a safety valve for schools along two lines. Because family literacy
programs intervene with at-risk children, children can start school-ready
than without intervention. Collaboration becomes important acting
as a potential factor which enhances the outcomes of program.
It is also a means to communicate to schools if children are at-risk.
Because family literacy programs help adults with children obtain
a GED, collaboration can also catch individuals who failed to
complete secondary school. Collaboration again becomes important
acting as a factor which contributes to positive outcomes of family
literacy programs for adults. It may also be a means for the schools
to communicate about high school dropouts.
Alamprese, J. (1996). Integrated services, cross-agency collaboration,
and family literacy. In A.L. Benjamin & J. Lord (Eds.), Family
literacy: Directions in research and implications for practice,
summary and papers of a national symposium (p.17-23). Washington,
DC: US Government Printing Office.