What Makes Us Different?
A two-generation approach to ending poverty
Parents living in poverty experience high levels of chronic stress and hardship, including isolation and exclusion, frequent moves and transitions, and constant juggling of limited financial resources to try to make ends meet. The stress and chaos of these conditions roll onto the shoulders of their children and can cause long-term negative impacts, including actual damage to a child’s developing brains. The constant worry and sense of crisis frequently prevents these parents from providing the type of healthy, cognitively stimulating, emotionally supportive interactions their children need to thrive in early childhood, succeed in school, and break out of the cycle of poverty as adults.
Providing early childhood education for homeless and low-income children is a crucial component of ending poverty’s viscous cycle. Unfortunately, education alone is not always sufficient. The answer: a two-generation approach – work with both the child (through early childhood development) and the parent (through family advocacy).
Two-Generation Family Services
Two-generation family services break the poverty cycle by helping the whole family achieve immediate stability, which leads to long-term independence. Critical to this strategy are social workers and Early Head Start family advocates who address each family’s most immediate needs, such as safety, housing and medical care, to move them out of crisis and into stability. Ongoing check points ensure that each family receives the support they need to reach long-term goals that improve the family’s economic well-being and self-sufficiency through increased education, employment and income in addition to financial coaching with a focus on building emergency savings and reducing debt.
The Center for Transforming Lives' two-generation approach to ending poverty focuses on addressing the needs of and creating opportunities for children and parents together.
Through the launch of monthly Parent Cafés, these at-risk families can access proven, research-based parenting curriculum that strengthens positive relationships with their children, while providing an opportunity to connect with peers and build natural supports. Parent Cafés engage parents in meaningful conversations about what matters most – their families and how to strengthen their families by building protective factors that can mitigate the negative impacts of trauma.
Working with parents and their children together puts the whole family on a path to long-term economic security. The Center’s two-generation approach builds education, economic assets, social capital, health and well-being to create a legacy of economic security that passes from one generation to the next.
Learn more about the two generation model from these leading agencies: