Ascend Publications

Building Strong Client Relationships: The Garrett County Community Action Committee Two-Generation Approach Begins with a Strong, Whole-Family Intake Process

For human services work, first impressions often begin with client intake. Intake processes give organizations an opportunity to start their interactions with families with a two-generation (2Gen) approach. Garret County Community Action Committee (GCCAC), a leading 2Gen organization in rural western Maryland, has designed its intake process to ensure a 2Gen approach from the very beginning of its partnership with families.

Two-Generation Approach to Leveraging TANF: DC as a Case Study for Policymakers

This brief, based on research and a series of interviews, discusses the history, development, successes, and remaining challenges of the District’s 2Gen poverty alleviation approach for families. It also addresses the continuing development of DC’s work, which positions the city to extend the 2Gen framework to families experiencing homelessness, as well. In the words of Councilmember Nadeau, “The vision for the 2Gen TANF approach is anchored in building a system of care that is responsive to the needs of families.”

Principles for Engaging and Centering Parent Voice

Over the last decade, Ascend has worked with and learned from more than 50 parents across the country. Our learnings have demonstrated the importance of intentionality when lifting and centering parent perspectives, as well as connecting with parents themselves to gain their expertise and knowledge. From this journey, we developed a set of principles intended to guide interactions with parents and create the best possible conditions to work with parents and center their voices in 2Gen programs, policies, systems, and research.

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In the original Two Open Windows, Pilyoung Kim and Sarah Watamura (2015) highlighted research supporting the transition to parenting as a co-occurring sensitive period — in other words, as a time in life characterized by “two open windows” where both infants and parents are especially receptive to being shaped by their environments. Here, we provide an update of research for parents, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to inform approaches to supporting families with diverse needs, compositions, and backgrounds within a two-generation framework.

Reducing state-owed debt can increase employment and child support payments, reduce time spent on futile collection efforts, and increase federal performance incentive payments. Almost all states have policies that allow noncustodial fathers to seek a reduction of state-owed debt, either on a case-by-case basis or as part of a debt reduction program. Debt reduction programs work hand-in-hand with prevention and early intervention strategies, including setting realistic support orders, intervening early in cases where fathers are falling behind on payments, and providing needed services through community partnerships.

Putting child support dollars in families’ hands results in more income for families and helps them cover essentials like children’s food, clothes, and school supplies. States can direct that money to families at home, rather than to the federal government. Family pass-through and distribution policies incentivize noncustodial fathers to pay through the formal child support program and can increase federal incentive payments by improving child support program performance.