From Proof Points to Building Evidence: Creating A Two-Generation (2Gen) Research Agenda

Marjorie Sims | March 10, 2022 | Ascend Network

A commitment to rigorous learning and evaluation is fundamental to the implementation of a two-generation (2Gen) approach so that we’re measuring how well programs and policies serve the whole family. This is reflected in research being the first principle of a 2Gen approach, and it’s embedded in the day-to-day work of Ascend’s 450+ nationwide Network Partners. These visionary practitioners and systems change experts span all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Ireland, and they know that a whole-family approach requires measuring and accounting for outcomes for children and their parents (or adults in their lives). Moreover, placing a priority on understanding a family’s goals and supporting their progress towards those goals requires seismic change in our current practices, systems, and policies.

Drawing on lessons learned from the research of 2Gen approaches implemented across the last three decades, Ascend and 2Gen leaders are now embarking on another important drive to support rigorous learning and evaluation across the field. Over the next year, the Ascend 2Gen Proof Point to Building Evidence Learning and Action Community (2Gen Building Evidence LAC) will work toward developing a 2Gen research agenda. Key areas of exploration will include:

  • The current capacity and capacity needs of the Ascend Network for conducting learning and evaluation activities;
  • Ways to strengthen learning, research, and evaluation across the 2Gen field;
  • Where are there gaps in 2Gen research and what would a multiyear agenda look like.

Comprised of parents, practitioners, researchers, evaluators, and funders, the 45 members of the 2Gen Building Evidence LAC are:

  •         Theresa Anderson, PhD, Urban Institute
  •         Deana Around Him, DrPH, Child Trends
  •         Rumeli Banik, PhD, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  •         Lisa Bohmer, MPH, Conrad L. Hilton Foundation
  •         Jennifer Brooks, PhD, Consultant
  •         TK Cross, Invincible Mamas Pushing for Action and Change Together (IMPACT)
  •         Gabriel and Raquel Cruz, Parent Advisors for Dr. Tandon’s research at Northwestern University
  •         Kathleen Dwyer, PhD, U.S. DHHS/Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE)
  •         María E. Enchautegui, PhD, Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico
  •         Erin Brooke Godfrey, PhD, New York University
  •         Jaime Hamil, MPH, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
  •         Allison Holmes, PhD, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  •         Iheoma Iruka, PhD, UNC-Chapel Hill/ FPG Child Development Institute
  •         Jerreed Ivanich, PhD, UC-Denver/ Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health
  •         Kate Jarvey, Crann Centre (Ballincollig, Ireland)
  •         Joseph T. Jones, Jr., Center for Urban Families
  •         Ariel Kalil, PhD, University of Chicago
  •         Catherine Kamara, Parent Consultant to National Crittenton
  •         Jamie Kim, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
  •         Christopher King, PhD, University of Texas – Austin
  •         Elmirah Marcus-Garcia, Invincible Mamas Pushing for Action and Change Together (IMPACT)
  •         Michael and Salma Martinez, Parent Advisors for Dr. Tandon’s research at Northwestern University
  •         Ted McCann, American Idea Foundation
  •         Allison Meisch, PhD, James Bell Associates
  •         Lindsay Ochoa, PhD, Mathematica
  •         Maki Park, MA, Migration Policy Center
  •         Armon R. Perry, PhD, MSW, University of Louisville
  •         Michelle Revels, MA, Community Science
  •         Heather Reynolds, University of Notre Dame/Wilson Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO)
  •         Jennifer Richards, PhD, JHU Center for American Indian Health (CAIH)
  •         Emily Sama-Miller, PhD, Mathematica
  •         Michelle Sarche, PhD, UC-Denver/ Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health
  •         Darius Tandon, PhD, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
  •         Lina To, Invincible Mamas Pushing for Action and Change Together (IMPACT)
  •         Paige Hull Teegarden, MPP, CSST Software
  •         Sara Anne Tompkins, PhD, Colorado State University
  •         Vallerie Blakely Vallecillo, Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico
  •         Liana Carrasquillo Vázquez, Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico
  •         Melody Veith, Central Missouri Community Action
  •         K. Shakira Washington, PhD, MPA, National Crittenton
  •         Amy West, PhD, USC Keck School of Medicine/ Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
  •         T’Pring Westbrook, PhD, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  •         Madi White, Invincible Mamas Pushing for Action and Change Together (IMPACT)

The 2Gen Building Evidence LAC will expand upon collaborations with our Network Partners from over the last eight years:


Well timed, the 2Gen Building Evidence LAC complements current efforts the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has underway to improve understanding of the state of 2Gen approaches being implemented across the country, and their latest project – Next Steps for Rigorous Research on Two-Generation Approaches – is engaging a cohort of four leading 2Gen organizations in a four-year effort to help prepare them for rigorous evaluation. The 2Gen Building Evidence LAC will provide a venue to deepen and align our work in this area.

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