Fostering Family Engagement in the School Responder Model (SRM) is a research-to-practice brief that describes how student and school outcomes are improved through family engagement. Successful SRMs are grounded in collaboration between local school, mental health, and law enforcement stakeholders. However, pulling only these stakeholders together is usually not sufficient to support a thriving SRM. It is critical to develop an SRM in a way that fosters family engagement, paving the way for parents and guardians to consent to their children’s participation in the process and to be full partners in connecting their children to needed services and supports. Given the very sensitive nature of engaging caregivers when their children are both struggling to follow school rules and coping with mental health challenges, family engagement in the context of the SRM can be especially complex and requires intentional planning and ongoing work.

The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) originally developed and maintained this resource. The NCYOJ was operated by Policy Research, Inc. and operated from 2001 to 2022 and was formerly known as the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The NCYOJ improved life opportunities for youth through systems and practice improvement initiatives.

This resource should be viewed as a reference document. It has not been updated since its publication. In addition, this document has not been made 508 compliant. If you would like a 508 compliant version of this document, please email

This resource was first shared in 2018.

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