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Family-centered practices guide interactions between practitioners and families of young children. The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children defines family-centered practices as those that treat families with dignity and respect; are individualized, flexible, and responsive to the unique circumstances of diverse families; provide families with complete and unbiased information to make informed decisions about the supports and services they want for their child and family; and promote family involvement in acting on their choices. Family-centered practices reflect a philosophy that recognizes family strengths and acknowledges the family as the most important influence on a young child’s learning and development.

This entry presents the history and evolution of family-centered practices, describes federal policies that guide the provision of family-centered supports and services ...

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