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What are Community Cafes?

Parent Leaders facilitate conversations based on the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework that serve to build community strengths, support parent leadership, and promote children's healthy development.

Our goal is to promote Community Cafes as a tool to advance family engagement and community-level, cross-systems communications with the hope of increasing reciprocity within these relationships; infusing cross-systems learning with parent and caregiver perspective; and building communities' capacity for action that strengthens families.

New York State Parent Leaders host bi-monthly conference calls to support anyone interested in the Community Cafe model. For more information or to get on the distribution list, please contact Susan Perkins at

Protective Factors

  • Parental Resilience

  • Social Connections

  • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

  • Concrete Support in Time of Need

  • Nurturing and Attachment / Social and Emotional Competence of Children 

How Do The Cafes Work?

Community Cafes are a series of guided conversations using the World Cafe model. Participants use carefully structured questions to guide meaningful conversations, allowing individuals from diverse cultural, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds to engage in discussions that increase community wisdom, build parent voice, and facilitate action to improve the lives of children. 

Each Cafe produces a Harvest, which is a report that captures the discussion and serves as a tool to facilitate communication within and between communities. By collecting and synthesizing Cafe Harvests, community level perspectives, concerns, and goals can be shared with state leaders to infuse policy that affect families with authentic community voice. 

Learn more about Community Cafes here. 

Community Cafe Objectives

  • Enhance community based organizations' capacity to support Parent Leaders in hosting Community Cafes

  • Identify and strengthen community supports that engage and protect families

  • Build parents' capacity to care for their families

  • Build community capacity to create action plans that address challenges affecting the social and emotional wellbeing of children and families 

NYSPEP and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services / Children and Family Trust Fund (Trust Fund), with support from the NYS Project LAUNCH and Head Start State Collaboration Office, funded communities in implementing the Community Cafe model as a tool for strengthening families and building capacity to support healthy families in their community. 

NYSPEP and the Trust Fund sponsors four regional Community Cafe Orientations with support from the National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds. Funds support scholarships for Community Teams to attend an Orientation and support Community Teams' ability to host Cafes within their respective communities. Technical assistance is provided by the National Alliance and NYSPEP.

Community Cafes were formally adopted by the NYSPEP Steering Committee in May 2013.

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