Ascend Publications

 

Ascend, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, is thrilled to share the newly released video, Advancing Children and Families Together: The Two-Generation Framework Overview. This short video aims to onboard those newer to the 2Gen approach and be used as a resource for the field in its continuous growth. We encourage you to share with your colleagues and networks and join us giving a special thank you to the video’s five featured speakers:

  • Teresa Eckrick Sommer, PhD, Research Professor, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
  • Amber Angel, Adjunct Instructor, Los Angeles Valley College
  • Lori Pfingst, PhD, Senior Director, Economic Services, Washington State Department of Social & Health Services
  • Joseph Jones, Founder, President and CEO, Center for Urban Families
  • Mishaela Durán, Former Director for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Regional Operations

Minimum wage increase proposals are a positive step forward for families with low income, but only if done concurrently with reforms that take account of the potential impacts on families’ access to public services and benefits they also need to survive. A focus solely on raising wages can inadvertently result in the cliff effect, which disqualifies families from accessing critical supports and actually leave them worse off. This document contains messages policymakers can use to address the cliff effect when considering increasing the minimum wage.

The evidence is clear; fathers — regardless of residential or relationship status — play a critical role in children’s health and influence maternal well-being. Fathers’ contributions to children’s development have been associated with improved cognitive development, social responsiveness, and independence across the lifespan. A growing body of research suggests that mothers whose partners are engaged in the prenatal period access health services at higher rates, experience lighter workloads, and are at lower risks for post- partum depression.

As we reimagine our public systems and services to work better for families, we have an opportunity to do so in a way that honors the full diversity of family structures and builds upon families’ inherent resilience. This requires an intentional and explicit commitment to applying a gender lens inclusive of fathers to our analyses of family- supportive policy, practice, and research.

With this recognition, underscored by ongoing gender analyses and recognition of the dearth of policies and programs that support fathers’ roles in child and family well-being, Ascend at the Aspen Institute and the Kresge Foundation Human Services Program convened leaders across policy, practice, and research to identify policy barriers, programmatic best practices, and opportunities across domains to more effectively engage fathers in efforts aimed at supporting children and families.

State of the Field: Two-Generation Approaches to Family Well-Being analyzes what has been accomplished, the lessons learned, and the opportunities ahead with unprecedented federal expenditures in social policy. The report comes at a time when Americans are more fully recognizing that a system that tolerates social, racial, gender, and economic inequities is on unstable ground — and we are reckoning anew with the history of racism, sexism, and economic exploitation that built them into the foundation of our nation. June 2021.

Ascend, working with Lake Research Partners, conducted 12 online focus groups of parents across race, ethnicity, and geography in fall 2020 to ask parents with young children how they were experiencing this unique moment in our history and language that could describe families’ hopes, goals, dreams, and challenges. Across groups, the parents had a robust set of ideas and values associated with the term Family Well-Being.

For policies and programs to be effective, it is essential to listen to the voices, perspectives, and language of people whose lives are most impacted by them. To capture those perspectives, Ascend, working with Lake Research Partners, conducted 12 online focus groups of parents across race, ethnicity, and geography in fall 2020 to ask parents with young children how they were experiencing this unique moment in our history and language that could describe families’ hopes, goals, dreams, and challenges. Across groups, the parents had a robust set of ideas and values associated with the term Family Well-Being.