Parent Perceptions of an Early Childhood System’s Community Efforts: A Qualitative Analysis

Brandie Bentley, Tuyet Mai Ha Hoang, Gloria Arroyo Sugg, Karen V. Jenkins, Crystal A. Reinhart, Leah Pouw, Ana Maria Accove, Karen M. Tabb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding how parents, and other primary caregivers, perceive and experience early childhood programs and services is essential for identifying family-centered facilitators and barriers to service utilization. Therefore, this paper aims to explore parent knowledge of and experiences with community efforts of an early childhood system in Illinois: the All Our Kids Early Childhood Networks (AOK Networks). Our research team conducted focus group interviews with 20 parents across four Illinois counties. A semi-structured interview guide was used to examine parent perceptions of an early childhood system’s community efforts in promoting the health and well-being of children aged from birth to five. Thematic network analysis was used to analyze all focus group data. Parents indicated three salient themes, including: (1) comprehensive information sharing practices, (2) diverse service engagement, and (3) barriers to service access. Overall, parents reported general satisfaction with the quality of available services and provided feedback regarding identified areas of need to increase the accessibility and utilization of local services. Engaging parents as partners is essential to the effective implementation of family-centered early childhood services. Families are the experts of their lived experiences, and incorporating their voices in program development and evaluation efforts works to increase positive child and family outcomes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1001
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • early childhood development
  • community systems
  • parent perspectives
  • parent perspective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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