Ascend Early Childhood Development and 2Gen Survey
This survey may take between 15-20 minutes to complete.
Introduction to the Ascend Early Childhood Development and 2Gen Tool

This tool is designed to help early care and education (ECE) practitioners, policymakers, researchers, educators, and other professionals to deepen their understanding of Two-Generation policies and practices. A 2Gen approach provides the parents of children that ECE organizations serve with adult education and training for jobs and careers, and other support to improve their economic self-sufficiency. These innovations help parents to enhance and protect their children’s gains from participating in early care and education programs and, as a result, help ECE programs to improve their outcomes for children.

This survey is based on the promising practices, policies, and programs implemented by a number of ECE organizations and on lessons learned by researchers, policymakers, and thought-leaders in the field. It allows users to compare their thinking and actions with what is being tried across the U.S., and perhaps will inspire them to try new things. Your responses to each item will be kept confidential. But data from all respondents will be aggregated and used to help Ascend and its partners develop useful information, tools, and other products and services for ECE organizations following a 2Gen path.

Background on Early Care and Education and 2Gen

The premise for using a 2Gen approach in early care and education was articulated in a 2014 brief by Voices for Utah Children: “Breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty necessitates a two-generation approach that meets the needs of vulnerable children and their parents together. Evidence-based and effective interventions which promote a healthy pregnancy and lifestyle, effective parenting, parental education and training, self-sufficiency and early education can improve the economic prospects for the family, reduce child maltreatment and toxic stress, and improve long term educational and life outcomes for the child.”

Head Start, which serves more than 1 million children annually, has long recognized the importance of a 2Gen approach, as the National Head Start Association noted: “Children’s outcomes are deeply related to their family context; changes in parents’ education and income can cause changes in parent stress, home environment, and overall stability.” A 2012 report by the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources noted that “early childhood centers can provide an ideal context for implementing adult career and educational pathways while both parents and children are young.”

Evidence is accumulating that children perform better behaviorally and academically in families with stable employment, rising incomes, and increasing levels of education. However, low-income parents of children in ECE centers face numerous barriers to achieving economic security for their families.

A large majority of Americans recognize the logic and power of a 2Gen approach. A 2014 national bipartisan poll commissioned by Ascend found that 71 percent of adults polled agreed that “if we want to make sure low-income children are successful in their early learning, then we have to also invest in their parent’s economic well-being.”
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Your job title *

Your organization's name *

Organization location *

Street Address, City, State, Zip Code. Please also note state/province, tribe, or nation.
Awareness of Parents as Economic Agents for Families and in the Community

Efforts to increase parents’ educational attainment and families’ economic self-sufficiency start with a data-based understanding of the parents/families' economic situation and the economic opportunities available to them in the local labor market. This requires identifying, gathering, and analyzing data, typically in partnership with local workforce training, education, and business- community organizations. A part of the information to be gathered about parents’ skills/education, previous work experience, and career motivations is to help gauge their readiness for a 2Gen investment.
Does your organization have the following information about the parents of enrolled children?

Are they employed? (Full-time, part- time, multiple jobs)

Are they paid a living wage, or more or less

What public benefits—child care assistance, SNAP, TANF, healthcare benefits—do they receive?

What is their level of education attainment

What job training have they had

Are they enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college program or a job training program

What are their career interests

Their previous efforts to pursue a career

Their English language capabilities

To what extent do they also use family, friends, and neighbors to provide child care

What methods has your organization used to obtain information from parents of the children they serve about their needs as parents?

Does your organization have the following information about economic opportunities and organizations in the local area?

The jobs, skill levels, and professional abilities that are in demand

The wage levels and benefits of available jobs

Longer-term projections of which types of jobs will be available in the future

The structure, capacity, cost, and performance of local job-training and education providers

Screening standards and entry requirements of job-training and education programs, such as criminal background checks

Which economic sectors (e.g., health care, manufacturing) offer good employee benefits, job stability, safe working conditions, and opportunities for career advancement and wage growth

English language capabilities required by different jobs/occupations

Which occupations/careers have “ladders” of education, training, and certifications that workers can follow from entry level to advanced career

Identification of leading employers within a sector

Does your organization know the following about its enrolled children?

Are they on track to be developmentally prepared for kindergarten

Do they receive regular comprehensive screening for health and well-being

What has been their progress on social, emotional, physical, and cognitive scales

Do they have special education status and are they receiving special education services

Have they experienced trauma and are they receiving services for the trauma

Economic Supports For Parents

A 2Gen approach provides parents with a range of services, anchored in education and training for jobs and careers, that help them to improve their economic standing, while also recognizing that certain non-economic supports—such as nutrition counseling or mental health services—also are essential. The approach is not just about short-term placement in a job; it seeks to build a parent’s readiness and capacity to follow an employment, career, or entrepreneurial pathway that has increasing and sustainable economic well-being.
Does your organization seek to provide any of the following economic-support services–either by itself or through a partner?

Career coaching to help participants ascertain goals and career plans, provide counseling, mentoring, and be an advocate, working with family-support staff

Work readiness orientation to help parents establish self-esteem, self-respect, and self-pride

Assistance in returning to local high school, alternative high school, or obtaining a GED

Assistance in obtaining English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) education

Upgrading of basic skills – reading and math for training and employment

Family literacy

Training for careers focused on universal competencies, like work ethics, appropriate dress and behavior in work environments

Assistance with applications to 2- and 4-year colleges and with access to scholarships, grants, and loans for students

Training/education for job interviews, resume preparation, job research, and career planning

Financial literacy and debt-management counseling

Development of savings accounts or Individual Development Accounts

Free tax preparation services

Coaching for how to support family’s living expenses while in the program

Financial stipends during training/education to offset lost income

Cash and/or non-cash performance incentives (e.g., for good attendance or achieving specific milestones)

Discounts on transportation support, help with car pooling

Development of computer skills for the workplace

Access to computers and the Internet

Engaging and Supporting Parents

ECE organizations routinely engage with the parents of the children they serve, but in a 2Gen approach the engagement takes on a different aspect: the parents are engaged as economic agents for their families and for their children’s economic futures.
Does your organization or its partner organization(s):

Prepare parents for what to expect in job training and career development initiatives, how long it will take, and the financial implications for their families

Co-develop with each parent an agreement about shared expectations

Provide a family support-staff member who helps parents assess their family’s needs, identify family goals, work on their priorities, and deal with crises that arise

Schedule classes and program activities for during daytime hours to coincide with the early childhood center’s hours.

Schedule classes during evenings when child care is provided

To provide parents with a supportive environment, does your organization or its partners:

Include parent representatives on the organization’s leadership body, to help make decisions about program design, staffing, curriculum and more

Have staff with the cultural competencies and linguistic capabilities needed to engage diverse parents successfully

Find out if parents served see themselves as part of a supportive community, including other parents, teachers, support staff, and administrators

Partnering for 2Gen

Effective 2Gen strategies are rarely achieved through a single organization's efforts. Many ECE organizations decide to partner with other local organizations to provide parents with economic and other supports that will be a part of their 2Gen approach. Partnerships may be encouraged through incentives at the federal, state, and local levels.
Does your organization seek to provide the following 2Gen services for the parents–either by itself or through a partner?

Child care for younger siblings while parents are in class

Help parents make child care arrangements when center not available

Development of parenting skills and knowledge

Improvement of the parent-child relationship

Ongoing home visits from pregnancy to a young age child

Improving the health of the parent and young child

Reduction of toxic stresses in the family and community that could injure the child’s well-being

Family literacy program

Help parents to develop their children’s social competence and emotional regulation skills

Develop parents’ advocacy/leadership skills

Has your organization implemented collaborations with the following types of potential local partners:

With workforce development agencies and nonprofits

With 2- and 4-year colleges

With public libraries

With the Nurse Family Partnership (or similar program)

With local employers

With public schools

With neighborhood and community organizations

Faith-based organizations

Community health centers

Dental health providers

Mental health providers

To increase the effectiveness of its 2Gen efforts, does your organization--by itself or through its partners--seek to...

Facilitate peer support among parents, providing training/instruction in cohorts, helping peers share experiences, problem solving, studying, personal advice, encouragement, and resources (e.g., car pooling) with each other.

Market participants to employers as skilled, competent workers that employers need, not as “disadvantaged” people needing jobs

Co-locate parents’ education/training as much as possible with the site of their children’s ECD programming

Anticipate that some parents may need to take survival jobs for short-term financial stability, and therefore provide support that positions them for better jobs in the short term even as they pursue longer-term development of skills for the workplace

Prepare families for transition out of ECE and into the public school system

Maintain relationships with families after their children have transitioned out of ECE so continued counseling and other support can be provided

Screen for parents who are strongly motivated to work, already have some work experience, and exhibit strong interest in a career

Help parents find work – volunteer and/or paying – in the sector they are interested in during periods when class is not in session, to gain experience and advance their learning

How does your organization assess the quality of partner organizations' performance?

Evaluating 2Gen Impacts

ECE organizations use traditional and non-traditional indicators to measure the impact of 2Gen approaches. The traditional approaches come from the education and workforce development fields, while the others seek to measure the effects on children in their programs.
In assessing the effectiveness of its efforts to help parents increase their families’ economic security, does your organization track and measure:

Completion rate for training/education cohorts

Cohorts’ pass rate on credentialing examinations

Employers’ satisfaction with trainees and graduates

Whether individuals obtain jobs that will provide greater earnings and more stable employment

Changes in the parents' income

Changes in the parents' job stability

Other indicators measured for 2Gen programs

If your organization has assessed its policies and programs to identify and address gender and/or racial and ethnic inequities, please describe how this was been done and what changes/improvements it resulted in.

Which indicators does your organization track to assess the effects on children of providing their parents’ with education, economic, and family supports? (If none, please enter that.)

For each item below indicate your level of interest:

Participating in an Ascend webinar series on 2Gen and Early Care and Education

Obtaining a reading list about 2Gen and Early Care and Education

Obtaining a set of reports about how 2Gen is being implemented in the Early Care and Education field

Learn more about how to make the case for undertaking 2Gen in early care and education organizations

Designing a learning process about 2Gen and Early Care and Education for your organization

Learning more about how to build partnerships with other organizations that can help your organization to design and implement a 2Gen approach

Learning more about how to assess outcomes/impacts of 2Gen programs and policies

If you have any additional comments or suggestions, please enter them below:

May we contact you by e-mail to follow up on your responses?

Thank you for completing the survey!  You are one step closer to joining the Ascend Network.

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