BILL SUMMARY For TWO-GENERATION APPROACH IN ACTION
INTERIM COMMITTEE EARLY CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOL READINESS
Date Aug 8, 2018
Location SCR 357
Two-Generation Approach in Action - Committee Discussion Only
Representative Buckner, Chair, called the
meeting to order.
Mary Alice Cohen, Two-Generation (two-gen)
Initiatives Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS),
Victor Vialpando-Nunez, Dean of Academic Affairs for the Community College
of Aurora (CCA), and Ethan Hemming, President & CEO of Warren Village,
came to the table to begin their presentation. Ms. Cohen explained
the history of the two-gen approach and distributed a handout to the committee
[Attachment A]. She told the committee that early childhood programs
run along the spectrum of child-focused, child-focused with parent elements,
parent-focused with child elements, and parent-focused. She stated
that the two-gen approach provides opportunities to meet the needs of both
parents and children. Ms. Cohen spoke about looking at the needs
of both and figuring out a way to harness solutions to address both groups
effectively. She spoke about emerging research supporting the benefits
of a two-gen approach, and the return on investment of early childhood
Ms. Cohen explained the integrated approach
to helping families, and stated that families are able to reach major economic
milestones three to four times more quickly if they recieve more than one
service. She said that when all of these services work together,
it supports the whole family on the path towards success. She discussed
services in the realm of early childhood education, social capital, postsecondary
and employment pathways, economic assets, and health and well-being. Ms.
Cohen answered questions from the commitee about funding sources for the
two-gen approach, including county Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
(TANF) funding, nonprofit organizations, private foundations, and early
childhood and home visiting federal funding. She spoke about the
importance of bringing community leaders together to access the community
funding already in existance.
Ms. Cohen explained that the two-gen approach
is focused on the needs and goals of each individual family. She
said that in 60 percent of families her department is working with, at
least one parent is working toward obtaining a General Education Diploma
(GED), and in about 20 percent of families, at least one parent is working
towards a short-term post-secondary certificate. She spoke about
the two-gen programs at the DHS, including early childhood programs such
as Colorardo Shines, economic supports like the transitional food program,
employment programs including the Strenghtening Working Families Initiative,
and health and well-being programs such as SafeCare Colorado. She
answered questions about the connection between the two-gen approach and
Family, Friend, and Neighbor care networks. She told the committee
that DHS is releasing a Request for Proposals this fall for a grant to
community and business members to come up with ways to support and innovate
around two-gen work in Colorado.
Ms. Cohen discussed several current state-level
programs and activities pertaining to the two-gen approach.
Mr. Hemming began his presentation. He
spoke about the mission of Warren Village, which is to provide affordable
housing, child and parent advocacy, and family support services. He
told the commission that Warren Village has a learning center on-site to
provide child care and learning services for 13 hours a day so that residents
can work and/or go to school. Mr. Hemming answered questions about
how the program is funded. He spoke about the need to meet people
where they are at any given time, and the importance of providing individualized
programs based on the needs of each parent and child.
Mr. Hemming responded to questions concerning
how to ensure the families in the program are working towards degrees or
training programs that are applicable in today's workforce, and how to
continue to help these families after they leave Warren Village.
Mr. Vialpando-Nunez began his presentation.
He provided several highlights of the Strenghtening Working Families
Initiative (SWFI) grant that CCA received to implement direct wrap-around
services to help students and families get degrees that lead to high-paying
jobs. Mr. Vialpando-Nunez mentioned the initiatives CCA is implementing
to foster a two-gen approach by creating partnerships with childcare centers,
employers, and other community organizations. He spoke about the
SWFI Child Care Learning Community, a group that meets quarterly to come
up with a long-term sustainable model for the two-gen approach.