For this module on family-professional partnerships, information on policy is drawn from two sources: the Head Start Performance Standards and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The Head Start Performance Standards include a standard on Family Partnerships (45CFR 1304.40). A central focus of Head Start is to work closely with families to improve the lives of young children. The Family Partnerships standard includes policies directed at engaging in a collaborative partnership-building process with parents, and creating individualized family partnership agreements.

For children with identified disabilities, IDEA has as one of its most significant themes an emphasis on parents being equal partners with professionals in making educational decisions about their children. Handout 4.5: Policy Advisory – The Law Governing Family-Professional Partnerships summarizes key Head Start Performance Standards and IDEA provisions for Part C (ages birth-3) and Part B (ages 3-21) programs related to families.