Spotlight Exclusives

States Leading The Way on Two-Generation Efforts to Fight Poverty

Spotlight Staff Spotlight Staff, posted on

Programs to provide opportunity for low-income families through a “two-generation” approach that addresses the needs of children and parents together are increasingly gaining traction and being replicated in red and blue states across the country: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Utah, to name a few.

At an event at the Aspen Institute in June 2018, Spotlight spoke with some of the policy leaders, funders, and advocates who are driving this innovative work in the states.

Reggie Bicha

Reggie Bicha is executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, appointed in January 2011 by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Bicha has led an overhaul of the agency, which employs more than 5,000 people and operates on a $2 billion budget, to focus on moving children and parents out of poverty.

Raquel Hatter

Raquel Hatter is deputy director of the Human Services Program at The Kresge Foundation, working to accelerate social and economic mobility for low-income people. Previously, she served as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services, introducing a two-gen approach to the department.

Brittany Birken

Dr. Brittany Birken is the CEO of the Florida Children’s Council—leading businesses, organizations, agencies and other key stakeholders in work efforts that support Florida’s children, youth and families. The Florida Children’s Council serves as the statewide umbrella organization for the Children’s Services Councils. We spoke with Birken about her work in Florida, and why two-gen solutions appeal to both sides of the aisle.

Tracy Gruber

We spoke with Tracy Gruber, Director of the Office of Child Care in the Utah Department of Workforce Services, about how the state is addressing intergenerational poverty.

Janine McMahon & Stephan Palmer

Janine McMahon and Stephan Palmer are parent leaders from Connecticut who have direct experience with the two-generation anti-poverty programs in the state and now act as liaisons between the government and the community at large. We spoke with Janine and Stephan about how states can engage parents in anti-poverty initiatives and why two-gen worked for them.

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