Legislation will give states, local governments, and tribes more flexibility to create partnerships that invest in parents and children living in poverty.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) reintroduced the bipartisan Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act to give states, local governments, and tribes more flexibility to create partnerships that invest in families living in poverty. The bill aligns and links existing systems and funding streams to target both parents and children with support aimed at increasing economic security, educational success, social capital, and the health and wellbeing of whole families.
“This is the first major bipartisan bill in decades that has a real chance of fundamentally changing the way our states, communities, and local service providers help whole families overcome intergenerational poverty,” said Sen. Heinrich. “Over the last two years, I’ve visited programs across New Mexico that are already using the two generation approach and heard firsthand how providing robust services for parents and their children simultaneously allowed families to grow together and get on a more prosperous path. The two-generation approach at its core is about effective government--evidence-based, data driven bipartisan policy that works. I’m proud to continue advancing the Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act with Senator Collins to change the way our country addresses poverty and increase opportunities for families in New Mexico.”
“Just as a child’s ZIP code should not determine his or her future success, neither should bureaucratic inflexibility make it so difficult for families to get the help they need to escape intergenerational poverty,” said Sen. Collins. “It has been more than 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” Despite our good intentions and having spent trillions of dollars, we have made very limited progress in lifting families out of poverty. In Maine, the poverty rate stands at 13.4 percent, just slightly below the national rate. Our bill proposes a new approach to fighting poverty, one that focuses on addressing the needs of children and their parents together – two-generations – in order to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”
The Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act is the product of a multi-year collaborative effort to balance the interests and input of a broad array of stakeholders, including Ascend at the Aspen Institute, United Way of Santa Fe County, and New Mexico Voices for Children. Senator Heinrich has hosted a series of events across the New Mexico to bring together families, local service providers, and administrators to discuss a two-generation approach to creating economic opportunities and addressing the needs of both vulnerable children and their parents.
In January, Senator Heinrich headlined the Aspen Institute Forum on Children and Families in Washington D.C., that convened more than 150 leaders to discuss ideas for investing in the economic stability and educational success of families.
Specifically, the Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act would:
Coordinate Federal Efforts to Assist in the Development and Implementation of Two-Generation Programs
Increase Flexibility for States, Local Governments and Tribes to Develop Programs That Best Meet Their Needs
Increase Opportunities for Families in Need by Funding Projects that Work
Successful Two-Generation Programs have the potential to lift families out of poverty by using evidence-based strategies. Examples of this approach include: