Ascend Publications

Among the one in five postsecondary students who are parents, there are close to 1.1 million student fathers, but very little research has focused specifically on them. This chartbook synthesizes the available research on student fathers to help inform the field’s efforts to support the success of all student parents and concludes with a call for research on student fathers in specific areas.

There are approximately 10 million residents in Los Angeles County, California (LA County) of which nearly 49,000 are young parents between the ages of 18-24. This population cares for about 67,000 children across 39,000 households. A disproportionate number of young parents and their children in LA County live below the poverty line – 30% and 35% respectively, compared to 14% of all LA County residents. With a population and economy larger than many states and even some countries, it is critical to explore the experiences of young parents in LA County, including how they navigate public systems, identify workforce and post-secondary education opportunities, and contend with other barriers that prevent systems and policies from meeting their unique needs.

This Collaborative Framework draws upon input from Parent Advisors and aligns with the various initiatives underway in LA County to recommend a range of approaches and a set of practice and policy opportunities most ripe for action to better support 18-24 year-old-led families.

In 2021, Ascend announced six recipients of the Aspen Policy Acceleration Partnership (PAP) grants, an effort to support cities, counties, and states committed to increasing family prosperity and well-being for student parents. Since then, these six public entities have worked with Ascend to increase student parent access to supports and public benefits. These partnerships will ensure that policies and systems lead parents to credentials and careers that provide living wages, access to opportunities for advancement, and continued learning in sectors with high growth and demand – and we’re proud to share their progress. Ascend contracted with Insight Policy Research to examine PAP program implementation from January to December 2022. This evaluation report describes important findings and key successes.

In 2020, Ascend established the Postsecondary Leadership Circle (Leadership Circle), a group of more than 20 college and university leaders who advise the Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative. Members of the Leadership Circle are spearheading innovative practices and family-friendly strategies on their campuses that advance postsecondary pathways for student parents across the country. This Playbook showcases Leadership Circle members’ successes and lessons learned in implementing their action plans to support student parents on campus in order to highlight potential paths forward for other institutions.

Research suggests that two-generation (2Gen) approaches can help interrupt the economic and social barriers to many families’ economic mobility and increased well-being and carry long-term benefits. Child Trends – in partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute – conducted new analyses for this report, which provides a current data snapshot of some of the families in the United States who may be eligible for and benefit from 2Gen supports and services. Policymakers, researchers, and program evaluators should pay attention to these same data points in efforts to assess families’ needs and identify supports to help them thrive.

Inclusive language conveys respect to all people, promotes belonging, and seeks to disrupt the social norms that perpetuate injustice. When organizations adopt inclusive language practices, it makes a difference both inside and out. This brief guide and analysis – which is grounded in research and contemporary practice in the US – helps two-generation (2Gen) practitioners with inclusive language practices in English.