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2Gether We Are Thriving – 2Gen Framework

For families to truly thrive, we must focus on both parents and children. And while a two-generation (2Gen) approach to anti-poverty work is a guiding framework rather than a specific program, CAP’s RISE team piloted an initiative called 2Gether to incorporate a Family-Centered approach to reinforce the success of both parent and child.

This pilot program provided 10 single mothers and their children with coaching and a cohort of support as they set goals for post-secondary education and journeyed toward a credential.

2Gether produced valuable results for the participating families as well as insights and data for CAP as we work to incorporate the 2Gen framework across our agency. Parents increased their incomes to livable wages, moved into stable, affordable housing, opened and contributed to savings accounts attached to long-term goals, and earned certificates and degrees necessary for their dream career paths. Children were supported in high-quality early learning environments to encourage healthy social and emotional development, attended family field trips, and participated in other fun educational experiences.

In October 2022, CAP hosted more than 140 individuals at a day-long conference to begin an intentional conversation about how a 2Gen framework could be extended across Lancaster County community benefit organizations. Nationally-recognized speakers came alongside organizations from other communities implementing this work, and participants workshopped new ideas on how to work together to create positive outcomes for families.

The room was filled with positive energy, hope and new ideas as we discussed new ways of working together and accomplishing shared goals.

Moving forward, CAP plans to continue leading these conversations with partners across various sectors including nonprofit, for-profit, education, government, and more to rethink how we develop and provide programming and services to create a Lancaster County where everyone thrives.

About the 2Gen Approach

2Gen approaches recognize whole family units, as families define themselves, in order to understand the multiple dimensions of family life and consider a 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 us to immediately identify families’ needs and goals and informs 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.

To learn more about the 2Gen Framework, click here. Contact Megan Heinly, Director of Economic Justice, for more information about what we’re doing in Lancaster county.


About the Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County

The Community Action Partnership is Lancaster County’s largest anti-poverty organization, helping low-income families move toward financial empowerment. CAP’s service profile interrupts generational poverty with programs that support families and individuals at every age and place in life, in the areas of education and child development, health and nutrition, household stability and safety and empowerment. For more information, visit