HARRISBURG, Pa. - New research shows the best way to help lower-income families become stronger is to provide programs that focus on both children and their parents.
The new Annie E. Casey Foundation report called it a "two-generation" approach to fighting poverty. Patrice Cromwell, the foundation's director of strategic initiatives, explained the two-fold goal as "supporting parents in their ability to get and keep a job and be a strong parent, the same time as supporting kids to get a good start early in learning, as well as a good start in school."
Cromwell said programs designed to help children or parents have the best intentions, but often are too narrowly focused. She said a more family-centered approach just works better.
"The real goal with these services is to promote children's health, well-being, learning and development," he said, "and in all of that work, recognizing parents are really children's first teachers."
Lloyd said another benefit of home visiting services is that they support parents in the longer term by getting them connected to other community-based services such as high-quality child care and job training.
He said funding has come from the federal Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Program.
"It was part of the administration's push to grow home visiting a few years ago, and that program's up for reauthorization right now," he said. "It expires in March of 2015, so there's a big push right now to try to get it reauthorized."
The report, "Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach," is online at AECF.org.