New Aspen Institute Report Highlights Two-Generation Success Stories

June 13, 2018

 8 States Lead the Way In Moving Children and Parents To A Path Out of Poverty

Contact: Lindsay Broyhill
Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Tel: 202.721.5596 |

Washington, DC, June 13, 2018 – Ascend at the Aspen Institute today released a new report – States Leading the Way: Practical Solutions that Lift Up Children and Familiesthat provides a blueprint for state and local leaders looking to put families on a path out of poverty through a two-generation (2Gen) approach that focuses on both children and parents together. The report profiles successful strategies implemented by bipartisan leaders in eight states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Utah. These eight states are committed and focused on a 2Gen approach with two dozen more preparing to join this growing trend for providing education, social services and job training with an eye toward economic security for families and economic growth for states. The report provides recommendations on effective and equitable innovative state policies and practices that engage families as equal partners and experts in their own lives to determine services they need for better outcomes.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute will release the report on June 14, 2018 at a public forum at the Aspen Institute in Washington D.C., featuring report contributors and state and local leaders, including state commissioners and agency directors and secretaries, and families, who will share their perspectives and expert insights in implementing successful 2Gen approaches. The agenda and speakers can be found on the Ascend website. The event will be livestreamed and promoted on social media with the #StatesAscending hashtag.

States Leading the Way: Practical Solutions that Lift Up Children and Families outlines successful state strategies and solutions that place families at the center of the services, support both children and parents as they exit the cycle of intergenerational poverty and enter a path of economic stability. The report, designed to help other states replicate and scale-up successful solutions, contains recommendations on processes that lead to better outcomes for families, lessons learned on engaging and bringing families to the table as empowered experts, and information on how to move to the next level whether policymakers and practitioners are starting the 2Gen journey or working to go deeper.

For families to get and stay ahead in the 21st Century, modern support systems and strengthened policies are needed that build on family experiences, practical innovations, and strong evidence-based evaluations. State- and community-level policies and programs have been at the forefront of advancing a 2Gen approach to improve outcomes for both children and parents together. Bipartisan strategies and solutions highlighted in the report fall under the following categories of opportunity:

  • Increased social capital;
  • Engagement of fathers and noncustodial parents in parenting and economic supports;
  • Systematic integration of change and accountability for families;
  • Legislative and executive support for 2Gen family outcomes;
  • Culture change to support 2Gen systems change;
  • Incorporation of brain science, resiliency, and trauma-informed care into family supports;
  • Systems and funding working together to support the whole family; and
  • Reduced cliff or benefits effect to support working families.

“Ascend is a national leader in advancing equity and prosperity for families in the U.S.,” said Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “The two-generation approach is a powerful mechanism for increasing educational opportunity and economic security, and this report will be an invaluable resource for leaders looking to support families in their states and communities.”

“State leaders from across the political spectrum are tackling intergenerational poverty with pragmatic, scalable solutions that can make a concrete difference in the health and economic well-being of children and families and also help government run more effectively,” said Anne Mosle, vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director at Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “Practical State Solutions lifts up specific two-generation recommendations and models that are ready for governors, state commissioners and philanthropy to implement right away and invest our resources so that all families can achieve their full potential.”

The report profiles members of the Ascend Network, which was launched in 2014 and consists of over 250 organizations, and Ascend Fellows working throughout the US. The Ascend Network represents the leading edge of practice, policy, and research efforts focused on a 2Gen approach, serving children and parents together for stronger and better family outcomes. Network Partners serve more than 3.7 million people annually.

The report is the cornerstone piece of Ascend’s Solutions Series, a collection of convenings, briefs, and webinars that elevate the top opportunities and actionable solutions to move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security as recommended by Ascend and other experts in the field.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success, economic security, and health and well-being. We embrace a commitment to racial equity and a gender lens. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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