The symposium is part of a five-year capacity-building contract issued to NCCS by DYCD during the past year. DYCD considers family engagement to be a cross-cutting strategy and priority among all its grantees, including those who run after-school programs, fatherhood initiatives, immigrant services, and services for runaway and homeless youth (among others). DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong, in his introductory remarks, spoke about DYCD’s vision of an integrated organization that works across programmatic lines to ensure that children and families have access to best practices and high quality services, regardless of which DYCD-funded program they encounter. His colleague, Deborah Taylor, introduced DYCD’s Circles of Support family engagement framework that emphasizes participation, communication, and partnerships; and NCCS Director of Special Projects Lissette Gomez introduced a new digital toolkit on family engagement, another key aspect of the NCCS-DYCD contract. Keynote speaker Dennis Walcott, President of Queens Public Library and former Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, talked about the critical role of families in every aspect of human development.
The NCCS team carried multiple responsibilities during the all-day conference: leading workshops, making plenary presentations, facilitating World Café discussions, and handling all logistics. Participant evaluations revealed great satisfaction with, and considerable learning throughout, the symposium