A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Last Revised: Apr 04, 2011 - Initial Posting: Jan 12, 2006

The Harvard Family Research Project strives to promote more effective educational practices, programs, and policies for disadvantaged children and youth.


Harvard Family Research Project/HFRPThe Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) assists with the development of strategies to promote the educational and social success and well being of children, families and their communities.  Three of HFRP's areas of focus are:

  • Complementary Learning
  • Out-of-School Time
  • Family Involvement

Subscriptions to HFRP newsletters related to each focus area are available at no cost.

HFRP has established Complementary Learning to provide guidance on information and resources about nonschool supports and opportunities that can both complement learning in schools and collectively result in better developmental outcomes - Complementary Learning Publications and Resources.

HFRP believes that to help close the achievement gap and for children and youth to be successful from birth through adolescence, there must be an array of learning supports around them beyond school.  However, the idea is taken one step further in the belief that these supports should be linked and should all work toward consistent learning and developmental outcomes for children. This network of supports is called complementary learning. These linked supports must be in place from birth through adolescence; however their composition and functions will change over time as the child matures.  Examples of nonschool learning supports include early childhood programs, families, after school programs, libraries, and other community-based institutions.

The Out-of-School Time Project has produced a Database & Bibliography, Publications and Resources, and Project Research on out-of-school time to promote strategic use of information to improve quality, accessibility, and sustainability of OST programs across the nation.

Family Involvement Network of Educators/FINE

In the area of Family Involvement, HFRP organized the Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE), a national network of over 5,000 people who are interested in promoting strong partnerships between children's educators, their families, and their communities. One of the many resources available under Family Involvment is the Family Involvement Storybook Corner which offers resources to help educators, families, and those who work with families promote the awareness, discussion, and practice of family involvement in children's education in a wide range of settings.  Children's storybooks with family involvement themes are used to engage families in their children's education and encourage family–school–community partnerships, all while supporting literacy.

Also available from FINE is A Guide to Online Resources on Family Involvement which offers extensive information for organizations promoting family involvement in children’s learning. Initiatives cover family involvement beginning in early childhood education through high school. Activities also encompass multiple contexts of learning, such as home, school, and community-based programs.

The Resource Guide is divided into seven sections and an appendix:

  • Knowledge Development
    • Family Involvement and Student Achievement
    • Family Involvement and Literacy
    • Family Involvement and After School
    • Parent Leadership
    • Community Organizing
    • Trends in Family Involvement
    • Parent and Educator Perceptions of Public Education
    • Policy
    • Evaluation
  • Professional Development featuring various resources including:
  • Standards for educators to build family and community relationships
  • Programs
    • Family-Focused
      • Family Involvement in Early Childhood
      • Home Visitation
      • Family Involvement to Support Academic Achievement
      • Family Involvement to Support Social and Emotional Development
      • Family Involvement in School (Home-School Partnership)
      • Parent Leadership
    • School-Focused
      • School Family Partnerships
    • Community-Focused
      • Community Organizing
      • Full-Service Community Schools
      • Family Resource Centers
  • Tools (links to resources available from over 100 organizations)
  • Convening (information on forums that promote school-family-community partnerships)
  • Special Initiatives through national foundations as well as national campaigns that address parent involvement as a key ingredient in improving children’s ducational outcomes
  • Appendix: Resource Guide Organizations

HFRP works to improve the policies and programs that serve children and families. The outcomes of its activities are (a) better informed policies on out-of-school time and family involvement, (b) increased awareness among practitioners of research-based practices in out-of-school time and family involvement, (c) increased use of HFRP research and tools in the training and professional development of educators. HFRP has developed a sophisticated tracking method on the use of its resources.


Priscilla Little, Associate Director and Project Manager