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Introduction Do You Partner with Families? You may be thinking, “Partnering with families, don’t you mean partnering with parents?” I mean both. Parents typically refers to biological or adoptive adults who are legally responsible for a child. A guardian or foster parent may also be legally responsible for a child. But children may also have grand- parents, neighbors, babysitters, or even adult siblings who play an important role in guiding and caring for the child. Those people who invest time in the lives of a child are also that child’s family. It’s great when young children have many people who love and care for them. So our responsibility as early childhood professionals is to know and work with all the people who take the children to the program, pick them up, attend program events, or spend time with them. For example, you may meet the parents of a child when he enrolls but see the neighbor every day because she drops off the child and picks him up. You need to know the parents and the neighbor—that’s the family you are partnering with. Make sense? For those adults who are not legally responsible for the child, make sure you have completed, written forms that give consent for them to drop off and pick up the child, spend time in the school, and learn information about the child and the program. Without written permission, you may never give out any information about the child or the program or release the child to the adult, even if the child knows the person and wants to go with them. I 5