Study of Family Liaison Positions in High-Poverty, Urban Schools

Education and Urban Society has published a study authored by Beverly Dretzke, a CAREI Research Associate, and Susan Rickers, a former CAREI Graduate Research Assistant who is now an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Bemidji State University. The paper, titled “The Family Liaison Position in High-Poverty, Urban Schools,” examines the roles and responsibilities of family liaisons working in urban schools with enrollments characterized by high poverty, high mobility, and ethnic diversity.

Results of the study indicated that the major responsibilities of the liaisons were creating a trusting and welcoming environment, facilitating parent involvement in the schools, keeping parents informed on school-related topics, and connecting parents with resources. To increase their effectiveness, the liaisons requested greater job clarity and more flexibility in their formal work hours. In general, it appeared that the family liaisons investigated in this study placed a stronger emphasis on creating a welcoming environment and establishing trust than has been found in research on family liaisons in more affluent communities.