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About Us

Thank you for your interest in the Center!

Who We Are

The Center for Family and Community Engagement (CFACE) is a public service and research center at North Carolina State University, founded in 2008. The Center fosters family-community-academic partnerships that are relevant and responsive to families and communities by supporting community engagement, offering professional training and technical assistance, engaging families in key decision-making processes within child welfare and related systems, and providing evaluation and research to inform best practices and policies.

For more information about specific services we offer, please visit our Services page.


As an engaged university center, we learn from families and communities, and with them, we create and inform practice, policy, and knowledge.


Building safe, healthy and productive families and communities together.


As a Center, we value Diversity, Education, Justice, Respect, and Impact. These values manifest in our work through Engaging Community Partnerships, Interdisciplinary Research, Evidence Based Research, and Family and Youth Leadership.

Diversity Statement

As a Center, we value Diversity, Education, Justice, Respect, and Impact. These As we help build safe, healthy and productive communities, our goal is to be a university-engaged center where everyone has the freedom to be and feel safe. We remain committed to being antiracist, diverse, inclusive and equitable while learning from our families, staff and communities. We strive always to humbly listen to varied perspectives as we continue to create and inform practice, policy and knowledge.

Strategic Plan

CFACE is proud to share our Strategic Plan that outlines the Center’s goals in accordance with NC State University. If you’re interested in learning more, the document is provided below. 

Our History

Our center is founded on the firm belief that families and communities fare best when they have a say over their affairs. We have incorporated people “having a say” into all aspects of our work. Since our founding in 2008, we have joined with family, community and government partners to encourage inclusive approaches in making plans, setting policies, evaluating performance and studying outcomes. During the Center’s first five years, we focused primarily on engaging families and youth in decision making over their own affairs. In our subsequent years, we have continued this focus while expanding our efforts to promote community-based strategies for change.

“Our center is about democratizing practice and policy to support thriving families and communities. I am so very proud of what we have accomplished together.”

Joan Pennell, PhD, MSW
Founding Director and Professor Emerita of Social Work

Dr. Joan Pennel and Dr. Gale Burford

CFACE Origins

Family Group Decision Making Project
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Co-authored by internationally renowned Dr. Joan Pennell, Professor Emerita of Social Work at NC State University and former director of the Center for Family and Community Engagement (CFACE); and Dr. Gale Burford, Emeritus Professor at the UVM.

Download your very own copy of the Family Group Decision Making Project, an innovation in child and family welfare.