When Families Work, Everything Works Better- A Two-Generation ApproachLeave a Comment
A two-generation approach to address poverty, income and employment is called for in a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach. The two-generation approach could benefit more than 200,000 young children in Virginia who live in families with no full-time, year-round employment. The strategies highlighted in the KIDS COUNT® policy report propose integrating state and federal employment, education and child care programs to create better opportunities for the entire family.
Virginia’s previous success with this approach is highlighted through the example of the Comprehensive Health Improvement Project (CHIP) home visiting program. CHIP sites across Virginia connect families with infants and toddlers to build important skills, such as creating routines, managing their families and bolstering their children’s health — all of which smooth parents’ path to employment. The two-generation services offered by CHIP led to a 40 percent increase in employment among participating families.
“Home visiting works to get families working,” said Lisa Specter-Dunaway, CEO of CHIP of Virginia. “And when families work, everything else works better.”
The report calls for comprehensive and collaborative approaches to align policies that benefit both children and families, especially those at-risk families with limited employment and educational options. The three recommendations of the report—creating policies to help children and parents, structuring systems to serve families and using existing programs to build evidence for pathways out of poverty- fall within the purview of the recently formed Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success. This Council will make recommendations seeking to shape Virginia’s policies around early childhood development and will review how Virginia’s systems are poised to meet the needs of families with young children.
Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, chair of the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success, said, “It is past time for Virginia to put every effort towards strengthening our early childhood system. The Council is working to develop recommendations focused on creating better policy and structuring our systems to lift up economically disadvantaged families with young children.”
The report was featured by Virginia News Connection on November 12, 2014.