Two years ago, Ascend at the Aspen Institute spearheaded the development of the first outcomes framework for two-generation approaches and released – Making Tomorrow Better Together: Report of the Two-Generation Outcomes Working Group (MTBT 1) in partnership with field leaders. That report is also accompanied by an online portal – 2Gen Outcomes Bank – that houses curated resources for 2Gen learning and evaluation. We are pleased by the considerable uptake of the report and the outcomes bank, demonstrating a keen interest among practitioners in making certain their efforts lead to stronger and better outcomes for children and parents.
Fast forward to 2017, and the 2Gen field has expanded at a tremendous rate. The Ascend Network has grown to over 200 organizations working in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. There are 35 states now engaged in 2Gen approaches compared to a handful when we released MTBT 1. The report that follows is tailored for policymakers at all levels of government and stands as an important complement to MTBT 1 and the 2Gen Outcomes Bank. Our aim is to support the unique role policymakers play in creating the large-scale and long-lasting change desperately needed for increased effectiveness in public services.
This report leads with five principles policymakers should consider when designing evaluation plans for their 2Gen efforts:
1. Measure and account for outcomes for both children and parents;
2. Embed learning and evaluation in policy design and systems development;
3. Use multiple approaches;
4. Use and promote data; and
5. Build internal capacity and ensure continuous feedback through evaluation efforts.