Reformers in U.S. social programs are increasingly focused upon broadening public investments, moving from categorically defined programs that target individuals to those which acknowledge the power of whole families in shaping individuals’ experiences and outcomes. This movement harkens back to an earlier era of reform in the early 20th century; however, it is supported by relatively new research and program evaluation that point to new programmatic approaches to improving the health, wellbeing, and financial stability of children and families.
In the 1980s and 1990s, evaluations designed to establish the impact of “two-generation programs” were inconclusive. Yet, a second wave of programs – dubbed “Two-Generation 2.0” or “Whole Families initiatives” – has emerged in the last fifteen years showing much more promise (Chase-Lansdale & BrooksGunn 2014). In comparison to earlier iterations which applied a “soft touch” approach to integrating parent and child services, these new programs:
• establish more intentional connections between services;
• supply more comprehensive services;
• align program duration and intensity;
• and cater services to the needs of specific subpopulations such as English-language learners
or families experiencing housing instability (Somer et al 2018a).
SOURCE: Warren Lowell & Jodi Sandfort. “Assessing the Research Underpinning Whole Families Program Models.” Future Services Institute, May 2019.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia