Transitioning with Families

What is Parent/Family Involvement?

Parent/family involvement has been identified as a predictor of post-school success for youth with disabilities (Mazzotti et al., 2016; Test et al., 2009). Specifically, Test et al. (2009) found that when students had parents, who participated in more Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings during students’ 11th and 12th grade years, students were more likely to be engaged in post-school employment. Extending the findings of Test et al., Mazzotti et al. (2016) identified parent/family involvement as an in-school predictor of positive post-school employment and education for youth with disabilities. When describing parent/family involvement, the terminology has changed over time. For example, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 used the term parental involvement. The recently reauthorized Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 changed parental involvement to included families using the term parent and family engagement. ESSA (2015) explained parental and family engagement occurs when conducting outreach to all parents and family. ESSA (2015) described examples potentially related to transition, including: (a) engaging families as joint members of developing local educational agency plans; (b) coordinating, providing technical assistance, and giving other necessary supports to help build capacity for schools and local education agencies to implement parent and family involvement activities to improve student and academic achievement (e.g., purposeful consultation with employers, business leaders, philanthropic organizations, or individuals who have expertise with engaging parents and families); and © coordinating and integrating engagement strategies for parents and families to the extent feasible, appropriate, or relevant with local, state, and federal laws (ESSA, 2015). Rowe et al. (2015) defined parental involvement as “parents/families/guardians are active and knowledgeable participants in all aspects of transition planning (e.g., decision making, providing support, attending meetings, and advocating for their child; p. 122). Broadening the terminology is important as families often include members beyond just parents (e.g., grandparents, guardians, aunts, uncles) who may be caregivers for youth with disabilities.

Why is Parent/Family Involvement Important?

Parent/family involvement can provide valuable information to help align educational programs with their children’s unique needs (Wandry & Pleet, 2009). Effective parent/family support during the transition planning process has proven beneficial to address the challenges faced in youth with disabilities. It can improve secondary transition planning and further promote postsecondary employment, education, and community living success for youth with disabilities (Wandry & Pleet, 2009).

To Increase Parent/Family Involvement and Expectations…

States can…

● Develop systems for information sharing between school and families

Schools can…

● Clarify expectations for how often teachers should reach out to parents, while finding ways to give teachers more time for this essential work

Building Parent/Family Involvement in the Republic of the Marshall Islands

NTACT’s Resources to Support Parent/Family Involvement and Expectations

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition’s (NTACT) work focuses on supporting states and local education, vocational rehabilitation, and career technical education agencies in building collaborative interagency teams to scale-up secondary transition evidence-based practices and predictors of post-school success (EBPPs). The following resources are designed to assist in parent/family involvement and expectations.

Parent and Family Involvement Annotated Bibliography

Family engagement related resources

Other resources for improving parent/family involvement and expectations:

Center for Parent Information and Resources:

Providing universal technical assistance & resources to the 96 Parent Centers serving families with children (age 0–26) with disabilities & youth with disabilities

The National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-determination and Employment (RAISE):

Help youth and young adults with disabilities to be real partners in attaining the education, supports and services they need to achieve competitive employment, independent living and empowerment.

Open Doors for Multicultural Families

Find the parent center in your state:


Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.



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NTACT: the Collaborative

NTACT: the Collaborative


NTACT:C is a Technical Assistance and Dissemination project, funded by the OSEP and the RSA, Cooperative Agreement Number H326E140004.