Family Opportunity Roadmap

Austin/Travis County
2-Generation Strategic Plan

2019-2023

Introduction

All families deserve access to opportunity.

However, systems that perpetuate intergenerational poverty threaten the wellbeing of Austin’s residents and its economy, leaving far too many families behind. Although there are many promising anti-poverty programs, most focus solely on adults with low income or their children, missing the opportunity to foster economic mobility for whole families. There are numerous efforts to grow the economy by developing the local workforce in the Austin area; however, the lack of quality, affordable child care and out-of-school time (OST) programming remain significant barriers to participation in education, training, and the workforce for parents, particularly those with low incomes.[1] Similarly, the benefits of quality early childhood education (ECE) and OST are well known, but the likelihood of a child succeeding later in life is still affected by the education and income levels of his or her parents.[2]

Research indicates that a dual-generational (2-Gen) approach to whole-family support can lead to better outcomes for both generations of a family.[3] Over the course of 2018, nearly 200 individual stakeholders from Austin and Travis County came together to develop the Austin/Travis County 2-Gen Strategic Plan (this Plan) in order to integrate the 2-Gen approach within our entire community. This Plan – the first community-wide strategic plan for 2-Gen in the nation – articulates common goals and strategies to strengthen and expand 2-Gen services and resources for Austin families.

About the 2-Gen Approach

The 2-Gen Approach Is Both A Strategy For Economic Development And A Mechanism To Create Economic And Social Opportunity For Families.

Rather than being a new or different intervention in and of itself, the 2-Gen model is a paradigm for thinking about social service delivery in which parents and children from the same family are served deliberately and simultaneously, leading to greater economic mobility over time. This benefits participating families as well as the economy.

Economic mobility across generations – or the ability for children to do better financially than their parents – has diminished over time. Austin is no exception, with lower mobility rates than many major cities.[4] The 2-Gen model aims to reverse this trend, helping families with low income create an intergenerational cycle of opportunity by intentionally focusing on the separate but linked needs of both parent and child.

2-Gen approaches work to better coordinate services across generations and to better coordinate systems and sectors that are traditionally siloed. 2-Gen approaches can take various shapes and forms, but most encompass some combination of the following supports and services:

Nationally, the most effective 2-Gen approaches incorporate strong connections and coordination between services for parents and children, making it easier for families to participate and succeed. Additionally, 2-Gen models with the greatest impact include high-quality programming in the above areas.

About the Strategic Plan

Over the past several years, leaders across sectors in Austin/Travis County have worked together to better understand and promote a 2-Gen approach.

In 2015, these efforts culminated in the creation of a 2-Gen Vision for Austin, which outlined the basis for a multigenerational approach to disrupting the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Building on this vision, United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) convened a network of service providers to support organizations currently taking a 2-Gen approach and encourage adoption by other providers. Over the course of 2018, this network greatly expanded, and members worked collectively to develop this Plan to put the 2-Gen Vision for Austin into action.

2-Gen Vision for Austin (2015)

Policies and programs are designed, and their resources are aligned, to help parents improve educational skills and become economically stable, to strengthen parents’ ability to be positive influences on their children’s development, and to help children achieve their maximum potential by simultaneously addressing the needs of parents and children. Meeting the needs of both generations will produce larger and more enduring effects than can be achieved by serving parents and children separately.

Austin/Travis County 2-Gen Strategic Plan  Logic Model

This Plan establishes a set of common goals, strategies, and metrics for the Austin/Travis County community as we work to create an ecosystem of programs and services that support intergenerational economic opportunity for families with low income.

By executing the strategies and advocating for the policy priorities included in this Plan, we will accomplish two primary objectives over the next five years (2019-2023):

  • Increase the number of families in Austin/Travis County who are served through a 2-Gen approach; and
  • Improve family outcomes by strengthening existing 2-Gen programs and services.

The numbers below are the baseline numbers that have been calculated at the time of publication (December 2018). Over the course of the first year of implementation (2019) stakeholders will work together to set targets for each of these measures, as well as each performance measure listed in Part V of this Plan (the Action Plan). Annual progress reports will detail our community’s progress toward our goals for each year of this Plan.

Altogether, this Plan strives to change systems to serve whole families, rather than asking families to navigate siloed systems. The research-based assumption that is foundational to this Plan asserts that if systems are aligned and services are integrated so that parent and children have access to comprehensive, wraparound support, both generations will achieve greater economic well-being.

Baseline Information

2-Gen

682

families served

17

approaches

near 2-Gen

2,809

families served

7

approaches

To develop these metrics, UWATX administered a survey to 52 family serving agencies and organizations in the Austin/Travis County area, asking them to identify the extent to which they meet the following 2-Gen criteria, based on national research on the 2-Gen model:

  1. Services are delivered deliberately and simultaneously for both generations (parents/caregivers and children);
  2. Outcomes are measured for both generations;
  3. Services for children include interventions that promote the development of the child(ren) between the ages of 0-12; and
  4. Services for parents/caregivers include adult education and/or job training leading to the potential of employment with a family-sustaining wage.

For the purposes of our community efforts, a 2-GEN APPROACH meets all four criteria. A NEAR 2-GEN APPROACH meets criteria 1-3 and also includes services that advance family economic mobility in ways other than adult education and/or job training, such as services that promote health/mental health, social capital, financial security, and/or stable housing.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

United Way for Greater Austin offers our sincere gratitude to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation for their generous financial support of this Plan, and JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo for their multi-year support of 2-Gen work in our community.

We would also like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their participation in the strategic planning process:

2-Gen Strategic Planning Consultants

  • Cathy Doggett, Paradigm Shift (Lead Planning Consultant)
  • Suzanne Hershey, CommunitySync
  • Dr. Christopher T. King, Ray Marshall Center, LBJ School, The University of Texas at Austin

2-Gen Advisory Council Co-Chairs

  • Dr. Aletha Huston, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Christopher T. King, Ray Marshall Center, LBJ School, The University of Texas at Austin

2-Gen Advisory Council Member Agencies

  • Austin Community College
  • Austin Community Foundation
  • Austin Independent School District
  • Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • Austin Public Health
  • Child Inc. Head Start
  • City of Austin Economic Development Department
  • Community Advancement Network
  • Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

  

  • Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Housing Authority of the City of Austin
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Learn All The Time Network
  • Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
  • Ray Marshall Center
  • Sooch Foundation
  • Travis County Health and Human Services
  • United Way for Greater Austin
  • Workforce Solutions Capital Area

2-Gen Stakeholder Network Agencies

  • American YouthWorks
  • Andy Roddick Foundation
  • Any Baby Can
  • Austin Area Urban League
  • Austin Child Guidance Center
  • Austin Diaper Bank
  • Austin Voices for Education and Youth
  • AVANCE-Austin
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area
  • Business and Community Lenders of Texas of Austin
  • Capital Area Council of Governments
  • Capital IDEA
  • Civic Interest
  • Communities in Schools of Central Texas
  • Con Mi MADRE
  • Creative Action
  • E3 Alliance
  • Economic Growth Business Incubator
  • El Buen Samaritano
  • Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas

  

  • Foundation Communities
  • Goodwill Industries of Central Texas
  • Integral Care
  • Jeremiah Program
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • KLRU
  • Latinitas
  • LifeWorks Austin
  • Literacy Coalition of Central Texas
  • Mainspring Schools
  • Maya Consulting LLC
  • PelotonU
  • People’s Community Clinic
  • SAFE Alliance
  • Skillpoint Alliance
  • Southwest Key
  • Saint Louise House
  • Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Thinkery
  • Todos Juntos Learning Center
  • Velocity Credit Union

Support

Letters of Support and Community Endorsements

Mayor Steve Adler

Judge Sarah Eckhardt

With great enthusiasm, we endorse this groundbreaking effort to make Austin and Travis County more affordable and equitable through a community-driven ecosystem of support for families. We know from our own experiences as working parents that caregivers with young children face complex and dynamic challenges when seeking to advance their education and careers. We also know these challenges are magnified for those struggling to earn a family-sustaining wage in our community.

Austin and Travis County have long been committed to investing in opportunities for all families through comprehensive public and private services and programs. Yet, for families with young children, this often requires navigating multiple, competing and conflicting systems that create barriers to opportunity. The 2-Gen Strategic Plan builds upon community expertise to improve economic mobility for families by providing a structure for better coordination and systems-level change. We believe that a 2-Gen approach that intentionally and holistically serves parents and children together will break down barriers and improve economic opportunity for the entire family.

Investment in a 2-Gen approach is an investment in our local economy. Employers are desperately seeking to fill thousands of middle-skill, well-paying jobs, while thousands of job seekers are unable to fill these jobs due to a variety of barriers – often tied to the lack of affordable, high-quality child care. As a result of efforts to support parents in finding and maintaining employment, employers will have access to a trained, local workforce capable of filling middle-skill positions. Additionally, children will benefit from high-quality early education and out-of-school time learning opportunities and find themselves on a path to future success.

We are grateful for the efforts of the community stakeholders who collaborated in the development of this Plan, and are committed to supporting families in Austin and Travis County.

Sincerely,

Mayor Steve Adler

Judge Sarah Eckhardt

Statements of Support

Community Endorsements

The Action Plan included in this strategic plan (Section V) has been endorsed by and aligns with the work of the following community coalitions.

Community Context

Community Context

The economy in the Austin/Travis County area is growing and incomes have steadily risen over the past several years, but not everyone is benefitting from the region’s economic growth. The cost of living, particularly housing, is increasing at a rate faster than incomes, leaving many parent unable to afford their families’ basic needs.5 Low-skill jobs, such as those in retail and food service, do not pay a family-sustaining wage Meanwhile, employers struggle to find trained candidates to fill jobs that require more than a high school diploma and less than a bachelor’s degree. Austin’s current workforce gap is projected to continue to grow and reach more than 60,000 openings for middle-skill jobs by 2021.6 These simultaneous challenges faced by families and the local workforce can be mitigated through a 2-Gen approach to family services.

Economic opportunity is not shared evenly across racial groups

Most of the benefits of economic growth in the region disproportionately affect wealthy and White residents. According to the Community Advancement Network’s Dashboard Report for 2017, about a quarter of all Hispanic and Black residents of Travis County live below the federal poverty line; less than 10 percent of White residents live below the poverty line.[7] Additionally, the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities noted significant racial disparities in Austin in the areas of education, housing, health, finance, and criminal justice.[8]

Many working parents are not earning a family-sustaining wage

In Travis County, around one-third of households with children younger than 18 years old are low income (Figure 1).[9], For a family of three, this is an annual income of $41,560. However, because the federal poverty line does not take into account the cost of living in a given location, even this annual income may not be enough to sustain a family in the Austin area. The Center for Public Policy Priorities calculates that a family of three living in Austin needs to earn at least $50,824 just to pay for basic expenses.[10]

The majority (80 percent) of single-parent families with low income are working either full or part time and are still unable to meet their basic needs (Figure 2).[11] Among two-parent families with low income, around one-third have both parents currently working full or part-time (Figure 3).[12] The remaining two-thirds of households have at least one parent who is not working and may be the primary caregiver for their children. This data shows that despite their hard work, current wages are not enough to sustain a family for many parents.

Parent education levels affect family income

Data shows that the majority of adults with low income in the Austin/Travis County area do not have the credentials necessary to obtain a middle-skill job that pays a family-sustaining wage. Additionally, those families who are not low income are more likely to have earned a postsecondary degree (Figure 4).The Austin Metro Area Master Community Workforce Plan (MCWP) seeks to “help 10,000 economically disadvantaged individuals secure middle-skill jobs by 2021.”[13] With additional education, training, and support, parents who currently do not earn a family-sustaining wage could potentially fill the need for additional workers in middle-skill jobs, benefiting the families themselves as well as the local economy.

Child care is a barrier for parents seeking education, training, or work

In Travis County, 28 percent of households with children under five years old are low income.[14] Their limited income makes it nearly impossible for these families to afford child care, much less high-quality care.[15] The average cost of full-day care for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children is $8,904 per year, an amount near the cost of college tuition (Figure 5), which is out of reach for many families.[16] As a result, parents often decide to remain home to care for children instead of continuing to work or enrolling in education or training programs. In two-parent households with low income in Travis County, 62 percent of families have at least one parent not working – likely taking care of children.[17] This is dramatically different than single-parent households with low income, in which only 20 percent of parents are not working.[12] The high cost of living in Austin, including child care, may require parents to make difficult choices concerning whether to stay home with their child(ren), go back to school or a training program, or participate in the workforce. Sometimes it may make more economic sense for parents to stay home with their child(ren) as the cost of child care would be higher than what they can make working full-time in a low-skill job.

In addition to money, time can also be a limiting factor for many parents wanting to pursue further education/training or the workforce. For example, children and youth need quality care during the hours before and after the traditional school day, but many parents are working or in school or training during those times. Without appropriate OST care for their children, the opportunity to work or to pursue further education may be out of reach for many parents. Because of this dilemma, parents’ skills and incomes often remain low, perpetuating the lack of economic mobility.

Children face lifelong consequences of growing up in poverty

The intergenerational cycle of poverty affects not just parents, but their children as well. Children’s success later in life is strongly predicted by the income and education level of their parents.[19] Growing up in poverty leads to lifelong consequences for children, including poorer physical health outcomes, lower cognitive ability, poorer school achievement, and lower emotional and behavioral wellbeing.[20] In Travis County, only about one-third of children from families with low income were ready for school when they entered Kindergarten in 2017 compared to almost two-thirds of their peers from families with higher income. Providing quality early education and OST learning opportunities, paired with opportunities for parent to further their own education, can set children on a path toward economic mobility.[21]

A 2-Gen approach benefits the whole family

Research shows that improvements in the education and/or economic situation of one generation have a profound positive effect on the outcomes of the other. For example:

  • A $3,000 difference in parents’ income while the child is young leads to a 17 percent increase in the child’s future earnings.[22]
  • Reliable and high-quality child care increases the likelihood that parents will enter the workforce or pursue their own education.[23]

By using a 2-Gen approach, investments in children, parent, and families will have a greater return on investment, benefiting whole families and the local economy now and for future generations.

Action Plan

Action Plan

This section describes the goals, performance measures and strategies that have been vetted and carefully prioritized during the year-long planning process. Below are short descriptions of each component of the action plan.

Goals

Our community developed goals in five strategic 2-Gen areas:

  • Overarching Systems Change
  • Educational Success
  • Social Capital
  • Health and Well-being
  • Financial Security

The latter four areas align closely with national 2-Gen models. The first area, Overarching Systems Change, emerged throughout the strategic planning process as a necessary area for strategies that are critical to developing a community-wide 2-Gen ecosystem, but transcend the other four areas. All five goal statements indicate what we hope families can experience once systems are improved and this Plan’s strategies are implemented. In each goal statement, the word “families” specifically refers to families with low income who are participating in a program utilizing a 2-Gen approach.

Performance Measures

Performance measures are used to evaluate progress toward our goals. Stakeholders believe we will move the needle on these measures if systems are improved and this Plan’s strategies are implemented. A current baseline and five-year target will be established for each performance measure by the end of the first year of Plan implementation (2019). Annual progress reports will detail our community’s progress toward our goals for each year of this Plan.

Strategies

Each strategy was developed, refined, and prioritized by the 2-Gen Advisory Council, as well as the 2-Gen Stakeholder Network (see Part II of this Plan for a full list of participating agencies). Strategies were prioritized based on impact, alignment with our goals, feedback from parent/caregiver focus groups, and feasibility of implementation within the next five years. Not published in this document are the set of specific action steps that delineate timelines and accountable parties for executing each of the strategies. Due to its intentionally dynamic nature, the Action Steps document remains separate and is accessible to implementing agencies or by request.

An outline of the parties responsible for implementation of the Action Plan can be found in Appendix D.

Goal:

Programs and systems that support families with low income are coordinated and aligned, creating an ecosystem of support to meet the needs of both generations.

Performance Measures:
Prevalence of 2-Gen approaches # of programs, partnerships, or collaborations serving families through a 2-Gen approach as defined by meeting all four 2-Gen criteria
Prevalence of near 2-Gen approaches # of programs, partnerships, or collaborations that meet criteria 1-3 and also include services other than formal education or training that advance family economic mobility (housing, health, mental health, social capital, financial education)
Families served through a 2-Gen approach # of families served through a 2-Gen approach
Families served through a near 2-Gen approach # of families served through a near 2-Gen approach
Expansion of 2-Gen collaborations # of partnerships between organizations that primarily serve parents/caregivers and organizations that primarily serve children aged 0-12
Strategies:
  1. Connect families with low income and service providers to community resources and supports.
    This strategy aims to create a comprehensive resource system (accessible via internet and phone) to help service providers and families more easily access needed resources including subsidized child care, job training/ education, and other services essential to a 2-Gen approach.
  2. Provide holistic, proactive case management and coaching to families served through a 2-Gen approach. 
    This strategy aims to ensure that current 2-Gen case management services address the full range of potential barriers to a family’s educational and economic success.
  3. Cultivate strategic partnerships between adult-serving and child-serving institutions that administer large-scale services.
    This strategy aims to connect systems that work primarily with adults to systems that primarily support children in the 0-12 age range, in order to provide more comprehensive services and leverage complementary resources for families with low income.
  4. Create and sustain a strong Parent Leadership Initiative to amplify parent/caregiver voice in planning and advocacy efforts.
    This strategy aims to ensure that parents/ caregivers continually inform Plan implementation.
  5. Support and strengthen 2-Gen programs to promote equitable access to economic opportunity for communities of color.
    This strategy aims to reduce additional barriers to opportunity that affect communities of color, particularly African-Americans, by making it easier to participate in programs that utilize a 2-Gen approach.
  6. Strengthen 2-Gen service providers’ ability to meet the needs of undocumented families.
    This strategy aims to increase the knowledge and resources of 2-Gen service providers to better serve families who are undocumented.
  7. Support the capacity of service providers who currently serve families using a 2-Gen approach.
    This strategy aims to build the capacity of existing service providers that already provide, or that are poised to provide, services to families using a 2-Gen approach so they can improve the effectiveness of their services and/or serve more families.
Goal:

Families achieve educational success through high-quality education for children aged 0-12 and adult education and job training leading to the potential of employment with a family-sustaining wage.

Performance Measures:
ECE/OST quality # and % of 2-Gen programs offering ECE and/or OST that meet high quality standards
Advancement in ESL # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance to the next ESL level
Completion of secondary credential/ diploma # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who earn a secondary credential (high school diploma or equivalency)

Completion of postsecondary

degree/ certificate

# and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who earn a postsecondary degree, industry credential, or certification
Employment advancement # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance along the employment spectrum of the evidence-based Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix
Income advancement # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance along the income spectrum of the evidence-based Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix
Strategies:
  1. Co-locate educational offerings for children and parents/caregivers.
    This strategy aims to increase the number of educational opportunities for adults and children offered at the same time and location.
  2. Increase child care/OST options during afternoons, evenings, weekends, and summer (prioritizing children aged 0-12).
    This strategy aims to increase the number of child care/OST offerings outside of traditional business hours to help support parents enrolled in classes or working.
  3. Increase the number of programs or partnerships using a 2-Gen approach that incorporate high-quality ECE or OST.
    This strategy aims to support existing 2-Gen providers and funders to connect parents to high-quality ECE and/or OST, either by providing the quality care in house or through financial assistance to access care in the community.
  4. Make it easier for families served through a 2-Gen approach to access subsidized child care.
    This strategy aims to reduce the financial burden of child care for parents wishing to pursue education and/or training.
  5. Improve access to adult education and training by reducing financial and logistical barriers to participation.
    This strategy aims to enable more parents to participate in adult education and/or job training by reducing financial and logistical obstacles to participation.
  6. Increase enrollment and retention in ESL courses for parents/caregivers.
    This strategy aims to increase participation and retention in ESL classes among parents served through a 2-Gen approach.
  7. Establish clear pathways for parents to continue their educational advancement and enter or advance in the workforce.
    This strategy aims to help parents identify the next step after each accomplishment toward their educational goals, from a secondary credential to postsecondary education, in order to earn the credential/degree necessary to obtain employment with a family-sustaining wage.
  8. Increase enrollment in and completion of programs leading to middle-skill jobs for parents, prioritizing programs in healthcare, information technology, and skilled trades.
    This strategy aims to support parents with low income to begin and sustain education/training pathways toward employment with a family-sustaining wage.
Goal:

Families have the requisite knowledge and relationships needed to access resources and services that help them meet their goals.

Performance Measures:
Parenting skills & knowledge # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance along the parenting skills spectrum of the evidence-based Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix
Presence of support network # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance along the family/social relations spectrum of the evidence-based Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix
Participation in community life # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance along the community involvement spectrum of the evidence-based Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix
Strategies:
  1. Support the parenting skills, knowledge, and confidence of families served through a 2-Gen approach.
    This strategy aims to help children develop social capital[35] by ensuring that parents are equipped to be resources for their children.
  2. Strengthen the formal and informal social networks of families served through a 2-Gen approach.
    This strategy aims to help parents build social capital by providing opportunities to develop and utilize social networks and relationships in order to meet their goals.
  3. Provide opportunities for families to build professional networks through existing job training programs.
    This strategy aims to help parents build social capital by developing professional contacts and networks needed to secure employment.
Goal:

Families are mentally and physically healthy.

Performance Measures:
Healthcare advancement # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance along the healthcare spectrum of the evidence-based Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix
Mental health advancement # and % of parents served through a 2-Gen approach who advance along the mental health spectrum of the evidence-based Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix
Strategies:
  1. Increase availability of information that can strengthen families’ health and well-being.
    This strategy aims to better connect families served through a 2-Gen approach to resources they need to be physically and mentally healthy.
  2. Increase availability of physical and mental health supports and services accessible to families served through a 2-Gen approach.
    This strategy aims to make it easier for families served through a 2-Gen approach to access physical and mental healthcare services.
  3. Increase 2-Gen service providers’ capacity to respond to families’ mental health needs.
    This strategy aims to identify gaps in mental health services and increase service providers’ access to mental health-related information and services.
Goal:

Families attain financial security through robust financial education and increased economic assets.

Performance Measure:
Financial education # and % of 2-Gen providers who offer financial education as part of a 2-Gen approach
Strategies:
  1. Support family financial security through financial education, coaching, and ongoing support.
    This strategy aims to ensure that financial education, coaching, and ongoing support are accessible to families served through a 2-Gen approach so more parents can improve their financial security.
  2. Increase the availability of financial products and resources that can be used by families served through a 2-Gen approach to fulfill their financial goals.
    This strategy aims to increase the pool of financial products and resources in the community that could be accessed by families with low income, such as safe loans, debt relief, fee-free checking and savings accounts, and lending circles.

Policy Priorities

Policy Priorities

The policy priorities on the next page are legislative or regulatory changes that would best facilitate a community-wide 2-Gen approach in our community. Where appropriate, these suggested changes align with the School Readiness Action Plan and the Austin Metro Area Master Community Workforce Plan.

Important Disclaimer: 

These policy priorities have been identified and are broadly supported by the 2-Gen Stakeholder Network and Advisory Council. They have also been vetted by the 2-Gen Policy Subcommittee. However, these policy priorities have not been endorsed by individuals or organizations within these networks.

Immediate policy priorities are those that have been identified by stakeholders as priority agenda items for advocacy over the next five years.

Local Policies

CITY OF AUSTIN

  • Hold a certain number of slots in the City of Austin’s summer programs for children and youth from families with low income.
  • Amend the current fee schedule and/or apply potential fee waivers to reduce the expenses associated with opening, expanding, and/or operating high-quality child care centers.
  • Require inclusion of options for affordable, high-quality child care facilities (with cost estimates) in City Requests for Proposals, Requests for Applications, and other competitive processes for leasing or developing space for projects (e.g., affordable housing, office space, Parks facilities, and/or mixed-use developments).
  • Expand the City’s Down Payment Assistance Program and the Community Land Trust that allow individuals to buy their homes but rent the land, making housing more affordable for Austin families.

CITY OF AUSTIN / TRAVIS COUNTY

  • Ensure more City and County affordable housing availability for families, especially units with two or more bedrooms. (City of Austin/Travis County)
  • Incorporate explicit 2-Gen programming and alignment into the 2019-2024 2-Gen Community Services Plan for City and County procurements. (City of Austin/Travis County)

WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS CAPITAL AREA

  • Enact incremental changes to child care subsidy eligibility so families do not abruptly lose benefits when income exceeds the eligibility threshold, which disincentivizes an income increase.
  • Seek local waiver from The State Workforce Commission to exempt our local board from following workforce policy that prevents recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from counting time in school and job training toward required “work participation” hours.

AISD

  • Expand access to underutilized Austin Independent School District facilities for one-stop/co-located 2-Gen models serving parents/caregivers with low income and their children, including community schools and/or schools with Family Resource Centers. (Austin Independent School District)
State Policies

REGULATORY

  • Remove or raise asset limits (e.g., personal savings, vehicles) for TANF and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility, which has shown to reduce repeat reliance on public assistance.
    Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Change Texas workforce policy to allow TANF recipients to count school and job training toward required “work participation” hours.
    Texas Workforce Commission
  • Devote the Governor’s discretionary funds from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to promoting and pairing expedited adult education and/or ESL offerings with high-demand, sector-based career pathway training for parents/caregivers with low income.
    Texas Workforce Commission
  • Enact changes to public benefits eligibility (e.g., SNAP, TANF, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supported housing) so that families don’t abruptly lose benefits once income exceeds the threshold.
    Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

LEGISLATIVE & REGULATORY

  • Reallocate existing or identify new funding to support Child Savings Accounts (CSAs) for postsecondary education and other uses for families with low income.
    Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Enhance state child support enforcement by providing greater resources for education, training, employment, mental health, parenting, and other supports for non-custodial parents/caregivers.
    Office of the Attorney General, Texas Workforce Commission

LEGISLATIVE

  • Amend state law to allow school districts to utilize Average Daily Attendance (ADA) dollars for students seeking HSE options (e.g., GED) in partnership with nonprofit organizations.
  • Provide tax incentives for employer-offered and/or employer-subsidized child care.
  • Reduce or eliminate unreasonable licensing restrictions (e.g., driver’s license, occupational licenses) for formerly incarcerated persons, which currently preclude them from obtaining licenses for middle-skill jobs to support their families.
  • Enact legislation protecting job security for persons in substance use disorder treatment, many of whom are parents working to support their families.

In addition to the above list of immediate policy priorities, we also recognize that medium-to-longer term policies – those that are more aspirational in nature, rather than actionable in the short term – are key to supporting our 2-Gen efforts on behalf of Austin families. It is noteworthy that a number of these policies have already been adopted and/or enacted in other localities and states, many with political environments that are similar to the environment in Texas. While these policy changes may be less practical/feasible in the near term, they are important in our work to eliminate intergenerational poverty.

Local Policies:

CITY OF AUSTIN/TRAVIS COUNTY

  • Expand local healthcare programs and encourage local employers to offer insurance to better meet the healthcare needs of families with low income.
State Policies:

LEGISLATIVE

  • Expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act so more families with low income can access health insurance.
  • Enact a State Earned Income Tax Credit to encourage work and increase earnings of working families with low income.
  • Require/encourage private employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees, allowing them to more easily care for themselves and their children and sustain employment.
  • Appropriate state funding to expand adult education services, particularly ESL, so more parents/caregivers with low income can meet their educational goals.
  • Appropriate state funding to match Head Start and Early Head Start dollars and expand these programs to meet the need.
  • Increase funding to support universal full-day, high-quality Pre-K programs.

Appendices

Appendices

Data Calculation Notes

In order to assess the number of families served through a 2-Gen approach, as well as the number of 2-Gen approaches in Austin/Travis County, UWATX administered a survey in October 2018 to 52 family-serving programs, partnerships, and/or collaborations in the community. Survey recipients were selected if they had participated in 2-Gen strategic planning activities and/or if they provide direct service to children, parent, and/or families. Recipients were asked questions about the services they provide, the clients they serve, and the outcomes they measure. They were also asked about the number of children, adults/parent, and families they served in the last year (2017). The most relevant questions are included for reference below. To ensure that comprehensive information was collected, UWATX staff followed up with any programs, partnerships, or collaborations that did not respond to the original survey or who submitted incomplete information. UWATX already had information about the number of clients served for many community partners. In these instances, pre-existing 2017 data was used.

Before the survey was deployed a group of data experts, including staff and consultants from UWATX, the Travis County Health and Human Services Research and Planning Division, and the City of Austin Economic Development Department, met to determine the criteria that should be used to assess whether or not a program, partnership, or collaboration can be considered a 2-Gen approach. These criteria were also vetted through a 2-Gen Data Committee that met throughout the strategic planning year. The criteria are closely aligned with national research on what constitutes a 2-Gen approach.

For the purpose of establishing a community-wide baseline, in order to be considered a 2-Gen approach, a program, partnership, or collaboration must meet all four of the 2-Gen criteria as seen below. Additionally, United Way and community partners believe that the 2-Gen approach is naturally more of a spectrum than a binary. In order to encompass a broader range of the 2-Gen spectrum in baseline measurements, UWATX and partners established a second classification: a near 2-Gen approach. A near 2-Gen approach must meet criteria 1-3 and also include services that advance family economic mobility in ways other than adult education and/or job training, such as services that promote health/mental health, social capital, financial security, and/or stable housing.

 2-Gen Criteria:

  1. Services are delivered deliberately and simultaneously for both generations (parent and children);
  2. Outcomes are measured for both generations;
  3. Services for children include interventions that promote the development of the child(ren) between the ages of 0-12; and
  4. Services for parent include adult education and or job training leading to the potential of employment with a family-sustaining wage.

UWATX received data for all programs, partnerships, or collaborations that were classified as a 2-Gen approach or a near 2-Gen approach, either through the survey or follow-up communication. Fewer than 10 agencies did not fill out the survey or respond to follow-up communication. Based on staff knowledge of agency programming, the agency website, and conversations with 2-Gen consultants, none of these agencies were determined to be a using a 2-Gen approach or a near 2-Gen approach.

Selection of 2-Gen Baseline Survey Questions:

Survey recipients were asked to provide an answer of “yes,” “no,” or “partially” to the following questions. A response of “partially” required short explanation.

  1. Do you provide programs/services to children aged 0-12 years old?
    Please note that your agency does not have to serve children in this entire age range in order to select ‘yes’.
  2. Do you provide programs/services to parents/caregivers?
  3. Do you provide programs/services to parents and children simultaneously?
  4. Do you measure outcomes for children 0-12 years old?
    Please note, since your agency may not serve every age group in the 0-12 age range, please select ‘yes’ if you measure outcomes for the ages that you do serve within that range.
  5. Do you measure outcomes for parents/caregivers?
  6. Do your programs/services enhance the parent’s/caregiver’s earning potential?
  7. Do your programs/services promote the development of children aged 0-12?
    Please note that your agency does not have to serve children in this entire age range in order to select ‘yes’. (Your program may serve children age 13+ but we are specifically interested in children in the 0-12 age range).

Baseline data on the rest of the performance measures included in this Plan, along with five-year targets, will be published by or before the one-year update at the end of 2019.

How Community Input Informed this Plan

How Community Input Informed this Plan The following stakeholder groups provided a significant amount of input into this Plan over the course of the strategic planning year (2018):

  • 2-Gen Advisory Council: System-level leaders and decisionmakers serving in an advisory capacity. This group met four times throughout the year to provide big-picture guidance and oversight of the Plan’s purpose, goals, and strategies.
  • 2-Gen Stakeholder Network: Large network of family-serving service providers. This group met four times throughout the year to develop, refine, and prioritize strategies, along with specific action steps to be taken to implement each strategy. (Action steps are listed in separate Action Plan document, available by request).
    Parent Focus Groups: UWATX staff hosted six focus groups throughout the year with parent participating in 2-Gen or near 2-Gen programs. Parents provided feedback on their current needs, what works about their program, what does not work, and what systems or support would be most helpful in the future. Feedback from focus groups was used to inform the process of strategy development and prioritization.
  • Researcher/Academic Advisors: This group of over a dozen researchers and academics from the Austin/Travis County community met once formally during the strategic planning year to provide general guidance on community-wide 2-Gen performance measurement. Advisors were consulted informally, on an ongoing basis, throughout the year.
  • 2-Gen Policy Committee: Small committee made up of select participants from the 2-Gen Advisory Council and 2-Gen Stakeholder Network. The committee met twice over the course of the year to develop and refine the Policy Priorities section of this Plan. Priorities were further researched and refined by Dr. Chris King, 2-Gen Planning Consultant.
  • 2-Gen Data Committee: Small committee made up of select participants from the 2-Gen Advisory Council and 2-Gen Stakeholder Network. The committee met twice over the course of the year to develop, refine, and prioritize 2-Gen performance measures. This committee also assisted in establishing the baseline number of families served through a 2-Gen approach and the number of families served through a near 2-Gen approach.
  • 2-Gen Planning Consultants: Three planning consultants with diverse areas of expertise offered significant guidance and input throughout the year.

Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix

The Arizona Self-Sufficiency Matrix is an evidence-based tool used nationally to assess families’ progress in 18 key domains related to family stability.

http://www.mnhousing.gov/get/MHFA_010996

Parties Responsible for Implementing Action Plan

Two collaborative groups, with support from UWATX as the backbone agency, will be primarily responsible for implementation of this Plan moving forward:

  • The 2-Gen Leadership Council, an evolution of the Advisory Council, will move from a primarily advisory body to a governing body moving forward. The Leadership Council will be accountable for achieving the two primary objectives of the Plan and for making progress toward the five goals and corresponding performance measures listed in the Action Plan. Leadership Council members are leaders of organizations that provide infrastructure that is essential to implementing a community-wide 2-Gen approach. As such, they will have some degree of decision-making authority with regards to Plan implementation moving forward.
  • The 2-Gen Provider Network, an evolution of the Stakeholder Network, will continue to execute Plan implementation through day to day work and regular collaboration between and within agencies. The Provider Network will report on progress toward goals, address potential challenges, and provide feedback for continuous improvement. The Provider Network includes service providers who implement or are working to implement a 2-Gen approach, as well as other family-serving agencies throughout the community.

In addition to these two primary collaborative groups, a parent leadership group (in development) will provide ongoing feedback and guidance to ensure the Plan is reflective of the desires and needs of families served through a 2-Gen approach. Additional ad hoc task forces and/or subcommittees will be convened as needed to implement Plan strategies.

Reference Endnotes

Reference Endnotes

[1] Adams, Gina, Shayne Spaulding, and Caroline Heller. Bridging the Gap: Exploring the Intersection of Workforce Development and Child Care. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, May 2015.

[2] Duncan, Greg J., and Katherine Magnuson. “The Long Reach of Child Poverty.” Pathways Magazine, Winter 2011, 22-27.

[3] Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “Two-Generation Programs in the Twenty-First Century.” The Future of Children 24, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 13-39.

[4] Chetty, Raj, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, and Emmanuel Saez. “Where is the land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 129, no. 4 (November 1, 2014): 1553-623.

[5] Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Austin Metro Area Master Community Workforce Plan.” June, 2017.

[6] Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Austin Metro Area Master Community Workforce Plan.” June, 2017.

[7] Community Advancement Network, . “CAN Dashboard Report 2017.” 2018.

[8] Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequalities. “Final Report.” April 6, 2017.

[9] 2012-2016 American Community Survey PUMS.

[10] Center for Public Policy Priorities. Texas Family Budgets.

[11] 2012-2016 American Community Survey PUMS.

[12] 2012-2016 American Community Survey PUMS.

[13] Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Austin Metro Area Master Community Workforce Plan.” June, 2017.

[14] 2012-2016 American Community Survey PUMS.

[15] 2012-2016 American Community Survey PUMS.

[16] Texas Workforce Commission. (2018). 2018 Texas Child Care Market Rate Survey. Average cost of child care calculated from data in this report.

[17] 2012-2016 American Community Survey PUMS.

[18] 2012-2016 American Community Survey PUMS.

[19] Davis-Kean, Pamela E. “The Influence of Parent Education and Family Income on Child Achievement: The Indirect Role of Parental Expectations and the Home Environment.” Journal of Family Psychology 19, no. 2 (June 2005): 294–304.

[20] Brooks-Gunn, J., and G. J. Duncan. “The Effects of Poverty on Children.” The Future of Children 7, no. 2 (Summer-Fall 1997): 55–71.

[21] King, Christopher T., P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, and Mario Small. Two Generations. One Future. An Anthology from the Ascend Fellowship. Washington, DC: Ascend at The Aspen Institute, April 2015.

[22] Duncan, Greg J., and Katherine Magnuson. “The Long Reach of Child Poverty.” Pathways Magazine, Winter 2011, 22-27.

[23] Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “Two-Generation Programs in the Twenty-First Century.” The Future of Children 24, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 13-39.