The federal government’s current approach to poverty is not effective enough. Although we have data demonstrating what works, many of the federally funded programs intended to help families are disjointed and difficult to navigate for both families in need and for organizations trying to provide help. While multiple federal programs exist to help low-income parents and children, they have separate funding streams causing silos and fragmentation. Addressing the needs of children and parents separately and without a comprehensive strategy often leaves children or parents behind and diminishes a whole family’s chance of success.
The Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), seeks to increase opportunities for families living in poverty through programs targeting both parents and children with support aimed at increasing economic security, educational success, social capital, and health and wellbeing. By aligning and linking existing systems and funding streams, our bill will lead to improved outcomes for parents and children together while improving the effectiveness of service delivery.
The Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act will give states, local governments, and tribes more flexibility to develop programs that meet their needs. Innovative approaches in this legislation will collectively ensure that no matter your zip code, you will have an opportunity to use already existing federal resources or attract private investment to implement the two-generation approach in your community.
Two provisions of an earlier version of the Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act have already been signed into law. These provisions include a request for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report exploring the potential for two-generation pilots, collaboration areas, and federal funding opportunities; and a new program administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury to implement Social Impact Partnerships to improve the effectiveness of social services.