Two-Generation Solutions

Two-generation approaches for low-income parents and children represent a promising and innovative antipoverty strategy for families, and are gaining momentum across the United States. These programs open the cycle of opportunity for families by simultaneously promoting human capital among parents and children. In recent years, the appeal of a two-generation perspective has led to a number of on-the-ground programs that combine early childhood education services for children with adult-oriented services that aim to promote parents’ education, employment and economic self-sufficiency. IPR developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and her research team are at the forefront of developing the theory, programmatic design and implementation, and research behind the two-generation initiative.

A recent grant from Ascend at the Aspen Institute jump-started an innovative two-generation education initiative for low-income parents and their young children in Evanston, Ill. It draws upon award-winning research from Northwestern University and will be implemented by the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF). Designed to help members of Evanston families facing economic hardship further their education and careers, the two-generation pilot program provides early childhood education for children as well as career guidance, financial planning, and education and employment opportunities for their parents. ECF provides leadership and program implementation support for the Evanston pilot project, and Northwestern is directing an accompanying research study, led by Chase-Lansdale and Teresa Eckrich Sommer, IPR senior research scientist. ECF has raised additional funds from Evanstonians and both ECF and Northwestern continue to develop a funding and partnership strategy and a plan for potential expansion in the future. 


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