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In November 2014, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Creating Opportunity for Families, which emphasized the close connection between family stability and well-being and a child’s success. Recognizing that kids thrive when their families do, we called for policies and programs that take the entire family into account — what many describe as a two-generation approach — to equip parents and children with the tools and skills necessary for both to succeed. Specifically, this involves intentionally coordinating and aligning often isolated programs for kids and adults in a way that leads to accelerated progress in three key areas: (1) parents with family-supporting jobs; (2) children meeting developmental milestones; and (3) families able to fully support and engage in their child’s development.
Over the past few years, the Foundation and others in the public, nonprofit and private sectors have invested in efforts to weave together programs and services for children and adults. These efforts have fostered collaboration among state and federal agencies and strengthened community-based organizations that typically focus on either children or adults. As these two-generation initiatives have emerged, common challenges have too: Many programs struggle with issues such as funding to coordinate child and adult services and collecting and integrating data on families. In this brief — the first in a series highlighting these challenges — we focus on the funding required for programs to address parent and child needs at the same time, a key component of developing a sustainable and effective two-generation program.
Most state and federal funding is designed for discrete purposes, geared toward either adults or children. Organizations and public officials must be creative in combining and weaving together public funds to support two-generation approaches. This brief outlines the key funding sources of six organizations and partnerships pursuing a two-generation approach, along
with their strategies for aligning multiple sources of funding to account for the needs of the whole family. The organizations — located in Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and Texas — represent a range of diverse ways to align and combine funding sources. In sharing these strategies, we hope to offer ideas for other organizations and partnerships seeking to bring together programs and services that enable parents and their children to thrive.