Colorado Launches Two Generation Approach to Family Services

Colorado is testing a new approach to providing services to struggling families in an effort to address the intergenerational cycle of poverty, incarceration and foster care.

Two Generation (2Gen) is a new initiative by the state recognizing that children and their parents are best served by recognizing the needs of the entire family unit.

“CDHS embedded the 2Gen approach into all of our services, recognizing that our clients only succeed when their providers or children also get the support they need,” said Colorado Department of Human Services Executive Director Reggie Bicha, in a statement announcing the pilot project. “The next step is to help communities try new ways of doing business. By applying a 2Gen lens, local programs will see greater outcomes by making sure multiple generations within the same family have the tools needed to break the cycle of poverty.”

A pilot phase of the project, called 2GO, will bring this intergenerational effort to 10 Colorado communities, providing $100,000 grants to implement 2Gen approaches to policy and programs to help break the cycle of poverty.This program is “is a way to inspire innovation around the state to build community readiness and to create new partnerships to better serve families and ensure outcomes for the whole family,” said Mary Alice Cohen, 2Gen initiatives coordinator at the Colorado Department of Human Services, in an email to The Chronicle of Social Change.

CDHS has $1 million earmarked for the grant program and proposals are currently being accepted through Sept. 28. The systems building stage will take place Nov. 1, 2018 – Feb. 28, 2019, then implementation will begin in March.

“The Implementation Stage must include specific system changes, rigorous data analysis of services provided and outcomes, and memorandums of agreement or joint operating agreements to coordinate efforts in the community,” said Cohen.

Grantees will have to pilot their ideas and prove the concepts effectiveness for the possibility of obtaining up to four years of additional funding.

The approach comes from Ascend at The Aspen Institute, which has focused on providing services to the family instead of individual members of the family separately in order to improve outcomes for all family members.

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Kim Phagan-Hansel
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