This interview was conducted with Mr. Fernando Bustos, Social Worker I with the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. Mr. Fernando Bustos has been working with Head Start program’s families for 10 years.
1. What is your role in the Fowler District School Head Start program?
“I promote the Head Start program by enrollment recruitment and happy to assist the Fowler School District. I support individual parents and their family cases, and psychological issues that may arise, I also, provide support, counseling, child development, parent trainings, health outcomes, financial, and medical assistance, as needed. I am proficient in English and ...view middle of the document...
The Office of Head Start is pushing Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. Trainings are not just for mothers (but in reality that is norm that we see at our trainings), but I also want to get more fathers involved, which is why I offer fatherhood specific trainings. “
3. The assistance and opportunities that you provide, do you see single parents more involved with their child’s education?
“I have noticed when I give single parents opportunities they do become more involved in their child’s education, along with dual parent households. I have noticed in the dual parent households, more mothers being involved than fathers. The culture seems to be that mom takes care of the home and kids while dad is the “bread winner” and disciplinarian. When I contact fathers to check on how they are doing or if they need any type of assistance, they usually redirect me to the mother to answer any school related questions. In my experience the more opportunities and assistance that I can provide, the better the chances are that parents will get involved. I do notice that single parents work on having a support group around them such as family, friends, and neighbors. Single parents do show interest in support groups, so I try to provide times that accommodate their work/school schedule.”
4. What struggles have you encountered to involve single parents?
“Some of the struggles that I have heard with parents are that trainings are only provided during the day and there is no child care offered. Being a school based program, I can only offer trainings during school hours. We are making an effort to provide evening trainings. Currently we are offering evening fatherhood trainings. This is why as Caseworker; we also refer parents to outside agencies that offer services in the evenings and weekends. An agency that comes to mind is Fresh Start Women’s Foundation that provides trainings such as; personal development, career services, family law, mentoring programs, and all the trainings provide child watch. There are many organizations/agencies that provide services; the issue is that the majority of the parents are not aware of them. The single parents that are involved in their children’s education are more aware of these community agencies, because of their own networking.”
5. How does this impact student achievement?
“As a parent and a Caseworker, my involvement or lack of involvement has a great impact in my child’s achievement. I try encouraging parents to more involve in their child’s education. With Head Start there is also a push towards school readiness. Parents are made aware that they are their child’s first teacher as well as their advocate. I...