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2-Gen Approach

Simultaneously meeting the needs of both the child and the adults caring for that child has the greatest potential to advance family success.

All children have an adult who helps take care of them—a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or guardian. The 2-Generational approach works to simultaneously meet the needs of the whole household (child and adults caring for that child) and is not limited to only parents. Why? Because you cannot effectively meet the needs of a child without also supporting those who take of that child when they go home at night, on weekends, and in the summer.



Our current system of programs and services are largely either parent-centered or child-centered. The 2-Generational Approach out of Ascend at the Aspen Institute focuses equally and intentionally on services and opportunities for both the child and the adults in each, unique family. This whole-family approach focuses on five core areas: early childhood education; postsecondary and employment pathways; health and well-being; economic assets like stable housing and savings; and community connections like friends, family, and other social groups for both the child and the adults in their life.

This approach meets the needs of both the child and the adults in their lives, together, building a system of care around families to address root causes and move whole families out of the traps of poverty and down an open road to success. 

Learn more about the components of the 2-Generational Approach in Aspen’s 2-Generation Playbook, and via Ascend's slide deck from United Way's Spirit Summit in June 2017.