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2Gen – A Whole Family Approach

2Gen approaches recognize whole family units – as families define themselves – to consider the variety of pathways for promoting positive, pragmatic, and effective outcomes for everyone. We work with families as experts and meaningfully engage parents and caregivers in designing policies and programs that affect them in order to develop holistic, integrated, and equity-focused solutions. This family-centered lens helps to immediately identify whole families’ needs and goals to inform integrations and alignments to programs that serve them, which maximizes long-term impact for families and communities.

Many programs focus solely on the child or the parent(s), but 2Gen approaches do not focus exclusively on either a child’s development or isolate an adult’s needs because their well-being is interconnected and interdependent. 2Gen approaches aim to integrate services and supports to move the whole family forward, benefiting both the child and the adult(s) in their lives.

A 2Gen approach can take many forms in policy and practice. One example of such an approach would be a college or career training program that connects adult caregivers with childcare programs. This way, a parent or caregiver can pursue higher education while their child’s development is also supported. Child-parent approaches focus primarily on the child but are moving toward a two-generation approach by including services and opportunities for the parent. This could look like a care center providing young children with early childhood education opportunities while also offering a workforce development program for parents and caregivers. Parent-child approaches focus primarily on the parent but are moving toward a two-generation approach by including services and opportunities for children. One example would be a place of employment that provides caregiving employees with child care referrals or a family resource center. For more information, click here. 

2Gen in Lancaster – Next Steps for Learning and Engagement Together 

CAP hosted a 2Gen Convening in October 2022 to bring together national 2Gen experts with organizations from multiple sectors of Lancaster County to engage in learning about the Two- Generation approach, and how this whole family mindset can benefit our community and shift the way we work together towards our shared goals of thriving families and a thriving community.  

We learned through the research, exemplar program models and personal stories of parents, that the 2Gen approach is not just a program model but is framework and mindset that can also be applied at the organizational, local, state, and federal levels and used to guide strategic planning, and policy change. We also learned that by taking a whole family approach that considers adults and children as part of a larger family system and by working together across service areas to provide aligned, simultaneous and integrated programs and opportunities for the whole family, we can more effectively support families in unlocking the pathways to their future goals and dreams and a movement towards greater economic prosperity and thriving.  

As a part of the 2Gen convening, we participated in a Six Hats activity to gather feedback about our feelings, thoughts, questions, dreams and big ideas related to the question of how we can use the 2Gen approach in Lancaster County to support families. We also invited participants to share their questions and desires to engage in a post-event survey.

A little over 100 people attended the 2Gen Convening from 42 different Lancaster or state organizations. Of those that completed the post-event survey, 100% said that they increased their knowledge of the 2Gen principles of practices, and 80% said that they would like to be a part of follow-up conversations regarding 2Gen work in Lancaster.  

The results of these processes showed us that there is a lot of positive energy around this approach in Lancaster and that people would like to engage in next steps in a few different ways. The main forms of follow-up expressed through the data are that people would like: 

  1. To have opportunities for others at their organizations to learn about the 2Gen Approach.
  2. To dig deeper into the 2Gen approach and the application of this framework to specific sectors of our community and our work across the gears.
  3. To have a space for strategic planning, 2Gen program evaluation, and deeper organizational exploration 
  4. To come together across organizations to create systems that will improve efficiencies and collaboration through this framework 

Upon reflecting on this data and specific comments, CAP is committed to offering a few resources and opportunities to facilitate the on-going learning and coordination of the 2Gen Approach in Lancaster. We know that no one organization can use the 2Gen Approach with families in isolation, but that it requires a whole community coming together, sharing, coordinating and coming up with creative collaboration to provide increased access to opportunities for families in Lancaster. Our commitment is to offer: 

Professional Development Opportunities 

  1. Bi-monthly Virtual 2Gen Lunch and Learns  
  2. Poverty Simulations 
  3. “Poverty and Its impact on Families” training 


  1. Family-Centered Employer Assessments 
  2. Support with 2Gen Data Collection methods 

County-wide Coordination 

  1. 2Gen Community of Practice for Direct Service Practitioners 
  2. On-going Convening of local cross-sector leaders  
  3. Direct Services 
  4. CAP Resource Liaisons 

To review the presentation from the 2Gen Coffee and Conversation, CLICK HERE: 3.16.23 Coffee and Conversation.pptx 

2Gen Community Learning Opportunities: 

We want to announce the launch of two community learning opportunities for deepening our understanding of and engagement with 2Gen work in Lancaster! A 2Gen Lunch and Learn Series, and a 2Gen Lancaster Community of Practice for direct service practitioners! 

2Gen Lunch and Learn Series 

Bi-monthly, virtual sessions that will focus on specific topics within the 2Gen approach in more detail. Individuals from any level of the organization are invited to attend these sessions to learn more about the 2Gen Approach and engage in conversations about each topic. Each session will include an informational presentation about the specific topic and recommended best and promising practices from the field, reflections by a program or organization engaged in 2Gen work and ways they apply the concept in real life, and time for community sharing and discussion.  

New topic sessions will be identified by participants in the Lunch and Learn Series through end of session surveys.  

2Gen Lancaster Community of Practice 

Bi-monthly, in-person sessions designed to engage with the 2Gen topics and deepen the practice of a 2Generation, whole family approach to our work across Lancaster through a peer learning space. This Community of Practice is intended for people in positions where they are engaging in 2Generation, Family-Centered work in a supervisor, or direct practice role, and want to engage with other people across organizations to wrestle with 2Gen concepts, share ideas about what is working and what is not working, generate new opportunities for partnership and collaboration across the 2Gen gear areas, and improve our work together. Each session will focus on the topic of the previous month’s lunch and learn. The intention is so we can take time to explore that topic with our team and our work with families and come back together to reflect and deepen the applications. Below is an outline of the first three Community of Practice meeting dates, times, and topics, however, ongoing session meeting times and agendas will be determined by the core group of Community of Practice participants.   


CAP’s 2Gen Lunch and Learn Series 
Date and Time  Time  Event Name  Description 
Tuesday, May 23, 2023  12-1pm  Foundational 2Gen  An introduction to the two-generation approach basics for people who were not able to attend the 2Gen Convening or want a refresher. REGISTER HERE
Tuesday July 18, 2023  12-1pm 


Engaging and Centering Family Voice  A focus on one the six core guiding principles of the 2Gen Approach and what this means in our unique work with examples from local programs and organizations doing this now. REGISTER HERE
Wednesday September 20, 2023  12-1pm 


2Gen Outcomes for Parents and Children  A focus on a second of the six core guiding principles of the 2Gen Approach and how we can measure and account for outcomes for parents and children, including recommended outcomes, the 2Gen multiplier effect, and the opportunities organizations face in attempting to do whole family data tracking. REGISTER HERE


2Gen Lancaster Community of Practice Peer Learning Sessions 
Date  Time  Event Name  Description 
Wednesday, June 21, 2023  9-10am  Community of Practice Introduction and reflection on 2Gen Foundations  We will introduce the purpose of the Community of Practice, establish group agreements and priorities, and determine the future focus of this group.  
Tuesday, August 22, 2023  9-10am 


2Gen in Action – Family Voice and Engagement  We will share about ways that we currently engage and center family voice in our work, any new ideas we are trying, what is going well, what is a challenge, and how we learn from others 
Wednesday, October 18, 2023  9-10am 


2Gen in Action- 2Gen Outcomes  We will share about ways that we currently collect data and measure change, anything we are trying related to shared outcomes for parents and children, any new ideas we are trying, what is going well, what is a challenge, and how we learn from others.


2Gen Lancaster Community of Practice Registration

Register for Community of Practice Peer Learning Sessions(Required)
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