Resource | Brief

An Evaluation of Family Economic Success–Early Childhood Education: Findings from a Two-Generation Approach

Project: Implementation and Cost Evaluation of a Two-Generation Model

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An estimated one-third to one-half of children who are poor for a substantial part of their childhoods will be poor as adults.

Two-generation programs aim to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by serving both parents and children in an integrated way. Implementation is complex, in part because there are few proven models and insufficient knowledge about challenges and solutions.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation provided programmatic and evaluation support for two-generation programs in Georgia, New York, and Maryland as part of its Family Economic Success–Early Childhood Education initiative. This brief summarizes how services at the sites were implemented, how they evolved, and what lessons were learned. It answers questions about the feasibility of delivering two-generation programs and describes short-term family outcomes.

All three sites brought together—

  • High-quality early education and early supports for children
  • Supports to improve the executive function, confidence, and caregiving skills of parents and other caretakers
  • Family economic supports

Program design was flexible, because each site started from a different place in terms of organizational context, program development, partnerships, and experiences integrating family economic and caregiving skills supports. Each site based its program on the local economy, available services, and needs. All three sites had an established Early Head Start and Head Start program offering high-quality early education and supports for children, yet they had distinct strategies for improving caregiving skills and strengthening the family economic situation. Short-term goals and outcome measures reflected these differences. The sites worked with consultants to build capacity to use data and participate in an evaluation.

The brief is organized according to the following questions:

  • Who was served?
  • How was data collected?
  • How were family needs assessed?
  • What services were provided?
  • How did sites know if services were meeting family needs?
  • How did sites staff and manage two-generation service delivery?
  • What did it cost to deliver these services?