Policy Academy 2014:
The Role of State Policy in
Two Generation Strategies
Facilitated by:
Meegan Dugan Bassett, Dugan Bassett Consulting
Brandon Roberts, WPFP
Deborah Rabia Povich, WPFP
June 27, 2014
Meegan Dugan Bassett, Dugan Bassett Consulting
The 2 Gen Approach
Programs and policies that
help both parents and
children build skills,
education, or other
resources needed to break
out of poverty.
Why Is WPFP Interested in
2 Gen Strategies?
The War on Poverty Isn’t Over
• 18 mil children (<13) and 24.3 mil adults live in
low-income working families (<200% of FPL).
• Nearly 40% of children in
working families are
• The percentage of families with children
living below the FPL has risen from 15.6%
in 1965 to 18.4% in 2012.
Source: WPFP, analysis by PRB from ACS 2012; U.S. Census Historical Tables
Our Interest in 2 Gen
• WPFP’s focus to improve low-income parents’
economic success, combined with efforts to
support children’s development can break the cycle
of poverty.
• Adult-focused state systems and policies can
contribute to more effective 2 Gen strategies.
The 1960’s-1980’s
2 Gen Theory of Change
Problem Definition: Low-income children need preparation
for school and social capital to break out of poverty as
Better Literacy
Better School
Better Future
The 1990’s:
An Era of Change in 2 Gen
• The Foundation for Child
Development coins term “TwoGeneration”
• Additional federal funding
drives flurry of new early
childhood 2 Gen programs
• 2 Gen progress halted by influx
of work-first policies and a
negative, disputed evaluation
The 1990’s: Major Changes in
Federal 2 Gen Policies
Head Start and the Child and Family Resource Program
Child Care Development Fund (CCDBG) Early
childhood care + parent support
Early Head Start (Dept of Ed) Early childhood +
parenting skills + GED and/or job search
The Comprehensive Child Development Program
(DHHS) wrap-around social and educational services
for families of newborns
Head Start Family Service Centers (DHHS) Early
childhood + case managers + adult literacy + substance
abuse + employment training services
TANF job readiness + job search resources on custodial
+ changes child support enforcement
SCHIP (DHHS) health insurance for children
Early Childhood Comprehensive Grants
U.S. Dept of Ed. Promise Neighborhoods
Child Support Parent Employment Demonstration Project
The New Wave
2 Gen Theory of Change
High Quality Early
Childhood Education
Better School
Preparation and
Parenting Education
Adult Education,
Sector Training, or
Higher Education for
Wrap-Around Family
Long-term economic
stability for children
and parents
Parents and Families
Are More
Economically Stable
Key Groups Working On 2 Gen
Federal and
State Efforts
Local Efforts
Government Policymakers and
Federal and State Efforts
• Federal efforts were the initial driver of 2 Gen programs,
primarily in child serving systems.
• Current state efforts, include legislation in three states and
other policy changes in several states. Most have focused on
child serving systems.
• Annie E. Casey Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation,
Foundation for Child Development, Gates Foundation, and the
George Kaiser Foundation have all included a 2 Gen approach
in their grant making.
National Groups Leading the
• This national initiative stimulated a new conversation about
this approach with funding for programs and research and a
group of Ascend fellows.
Center for Study of Social Policy
• In 2006, CSSP launched the Strengthening Families Initiative to
help state early education and child protection services end
child abuse by supporting greater family resources and
Local Efforts
Primarily based in:
• Early childhood education centers- These programs usually
include: parenting skills, adult education, or sector training
• Career Advance at the Community Action Project Tulsa
• Even Start and All Our Kin in Connecticut
• Connected to community colleges or post-secondary
institutions- These primarily focus on parent educational
attainment, with resources for the family (housing, childcare,
• Endicott College Keys to Degrees
• Buckner Family Place
• Jeremiah Program
• Community based organizations- include multiple services
• Atlanta Civic Site
Federal Policy Started 2 Gen
State Policy Can Expand It
State Policy
• Impact small number of
• Unable to set priorities
and regulations for
funding sources
• Limited resources,
networks, and expertise
• Broader reach through
agency policy, funding,
and practice
• Multiple sources of
funding, ability to set
priorities and regulations
• Access to a broad
network of offices, case
managers, and
community based
Helpful 2 Gen Publications
Two Generation Programs in the TwentyFirst Century
P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Jeanne
The Future of Children, Volume 24, Issue 1
Spring 2014
The authors describe the research behind 2 Gen programs over the years,
focusing on programs that explicitly engage both parents and children in
building human capital. An excellent overview of the two waves of 2 Gen
programs, the authors describe the history, theories of change, and research
behind this approach. They also discuss challenges to 2 Gen programs, where
the research is lacking, and summarize many current programs. Does
reference policy, but does not have a strong state policy component.
Two (or More) Generation Framework: A
Look Across and Within. Janice M.
Gruendel. Center for the Study of Social
Policy (2014)
This piece provides a useful overview of most of the top 2 Gen initiatives,
with the core goals, target populations, and program examples for each.
Provides an overview of the Chris King getting started guide for policymakers
as well. Includes embedded hyperlinks to multiple program examples and
publications all in one place.
Investing in Children and Parents: Fostering
Two-Generation Strategies in the United
Christopher T. King, Tara C. Smith, & Robert
W. Glover. Ray Marshall Center, University of
Texas-Austin (2011)
Based on their work with 2 Gen programs that combine early childhood
education and sectoral workforce training for parents, this paper has an
excellent summary of federal sources of funds that can be leveraged at the
state level to create new 2 Gen policies and programs. Also includes a
summary of some of the current programs combining workforce training or
higher education and family supports. There are multiple versions of this
paper, but the one found on the Ascend website is the most robust.
Helpful 2 Gen Publications (continued)
Gateways to Two-Generations: The Potential
for Early Childhood Education and
Partnerships to Support Children and
Parents Together Joan Lombardi, Anne
Mosle, Nisha Patel, Rachel Schumacher, and
Jennifer Stedron. Ascend (2014)
This publication from Ascend provides a strong overview their current 2 Gen
approach. Includes useful data on children and parents in poverty,
background information on programs and policies that started the approach,
and examples of current 2 Gen programs. There is a small section with some
useful ideas for state policy.
Promoting Two-Generation Strategies: A
Getting-Started Guide for State and Local
Policymakers Christopher T. King, Rheagan
Coffey, and Tara C. Smith. Ray Marshall
Center, University of Texas-Austin (2013)
Although this piece is focused on a specific type of 2 Gen program, it has
useful summaries of existing efforts and provides practical steps state
policymakers can take to replicate the early childhood education/sectoral
training model. Includes some helpful ideas for available funding and
examples of existing infrastructure in each state that can form the basis for a
new 2 Gen approach.
Two Generation Programs: Design, Cost, and
Short-Term Effectiveness
Robert G. St. Pierre, Jean I. Layser, and
Helen V. Barnes. Future of Children, Volume
5, Issue 3 Winter 1995
An older piece, this article provides a fairly comprehensive review of some of
the top 2 Gen programs in the 1990’s. Provides detailed information about
program costs, level of parent engagement, program elements, and program
results in the short-term for both parents and children. Includes several
federally funded programs.

Double-take: A Two Generation Approach to Poverty