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2-Gen Initiative

Iowa’s 2-Generation (2-Gen) Project

The 2-Gen Approach

Recent research confirms the critical role that parents play in their children’s healthy development - that a child’s success is intimately tied to his or her parents’ capacity to overcome obstacles (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013). Human service systems across the country are using this knowledge to inform the development of 2-Gen approaches - supporting parents to improve family stability and self-sufficiency, while providing their children high quality education, child care, and health care services.

2-Gen seeks to assure that programs and policies are designed and implemented with a mindset that seeks to understand the intersecting needs of parents and their children. Applying a “2-Gen lens” facilitates the strategic alignment of existing systems and services, allowing for a holistic approach to moving families out of poverty.

This approach does not require development of new programs or services, but does require a shift in thinking about how existing services and programs are provided.


2-Gen Core Components

We believe that education, economic assets, social capital, and health and well-being are the core components that create an intergenerational cycle of opportunity. Quality early education for children and postsecondary education for parents are central to approaches that move the whole family toward economic security.

Core Components

Iowa’s 2-Gen Vision

Iowa’s families thrive, empowered through integrated comprehensive services that support adult and child success.

Iowa’s 2-Gen Teams

Supporting Iowa’s 2-Gen work are the Leadership Steering Committee and the Core Team. 

The Steering Committee guides the work of the Core Team toward meeting the 2-Gen Action Plan goals.  The Steering Committee is made up of representatives from state agencies, community-based organizations, higher education, and families.

The Core Team is made up of representatives from Iowa Workforce Development, the Department of Human Rights, and the Department of Human Services. 

Iowa’s 2-Gen Action Plan

Families are a top priority in Iowa’s 2-Gen Action Plan.

Iowa seeks to implement promising 2-Gen strategies, policies, and practices to help break the cycle of poverty and improve the overall well-being for Iowa families participating in the Family Investment Program (FIP).

To begin developing 2-Gen strategies the Core Team sought input from families through focus groups. The objective of the focus groups was to gain insight from family experiences within the FIP system, specifically, the intersecting services provided by Department of Human Service eligibility determination, Iowa Workforce Development PROMISE JOBS and the Department of Human Rights FaDSS program.    Also, from March 2018 through June 2018, staff input was received from surveys and a focus group.  The surveys and focus groups included PROMISE JOBS and FaDSS staff.  A more comprehensive report prepared by Third Sector Capitol Partners, Inc. may be found here.  The information received from families an staff will be important in developing 2-Gen strategies as part of a pilot.  

FY21 FaDSS 2-Generation Pilot Site Summary

For more information on Iowa’s 2-Gen project, contact:  

Lorie Easter
Iowa Department of Human Rights
Division of Community Action Agencies 


Page Humphrey
Iowa Department of Human Rights
Division of Community Action Agencies

2-Gen resources and reports:

2-Gen Implementation Summary

Ascend - The Aspen Institute

Family Focus Group and Staff Surveys Report - June 2018

Empowering Families: A Look at Iowa