Family Voices: Family Engagement in Systems Change

Assessing Family Engagement / Family Engagement in Systems Tools


It’s critically important for individuals and families who receive services from a system of care have a voice in informing the policies and practices that govern the services they receive. This ensures policies, practices, services, supports, QI activities, research agendas and protocols, and other systems-level initiatives are family-centered and equitable. Moreover, when child- and family-serving organizations engage families in systems change, there are fewer unanticipated adverse consequences.

Family Voices created the Family Engagement in Systems Tools that child- and family-serving organizations can use to plan, assess, and improve family engagement.

Family Engagement in Systems Tools

To obtain the Tools, use the “Download the FESAT” button below. Once you complete the form, you will be directed to a page where you can download the Users’ Guide, FESAT, Score Sheet, and FES Toolkit. We will not share your information. We request this information to track usage of the FESAT and potentially to contact you to learn about your experience with the FESAT and offer technical assistance. There is no charge for the tools.

Contact our staff at for questions or technical assistance in use of the tools.

The Family Engagement in Systems Tools include:

The Family Engagement in Systems Assessment (FESAT) User’s Guide

  • Provides instructions for use of the FESAT
  • How to score the FESAT and use the results
  • Appendices that provide example uses of the FESAT and definitions of terms

The Family Engagement in Systems Assessment Tool (FESAT)

  • A 20-item self-assessment tool that organizational staff and families use together to assess family engagement in policies, programs, and other systems-level initiatives.

FESAT Score Sheet

  • An Excel worksheet that calculates FESAT scores and automatically populates a bar graph to help organizations understand how well they are providing the supports and information that both families and staff need to partner, participate in, and contribute to systems-level initiatives.

The Family Engagement in Systems (FES) Toolkit

  • Includes the Family Engagement in Systems Checklist and strategies and resources to help improve and strengthen family engagement in systems-level initiatives.

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Our Vision

With families at the center of health care, all children and youth reach their full potential and health disparities are eliminated.

Our Mission

Family Voices is a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities that promotes partnership with families—including those of cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity—in order to improve health care services and policies for children.

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