Poverty is not unique to South Florida, but our approach to ending it must be. The two-generation approach (2Gen) is a framework that disrupts poverty by simultaneously addressing the needs of adults and children.
A great challenge for many families at risk is that increases in wages — what should be viewed as a simple blessing — can often mean the loss of eligibility for important financial support, like health insurance or child care. If a wage increase does not cover the cost of these critical services, families find themselves in a dilemma, a devastating reality for many in Miami-Dade County, across Florida, and the nation.
According to the Two Generational Approach: Focused Policies for Improved Outcomes report released in April by the Florida Children’s Council, poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s overall well-being.
Families with young children in poverty have different obstacles and face different needs than individuals in poverty. Social service programs exist in separate silos — child-oriented and adult-oriented. Aligning these systems not only increases efficiency, it promotes better educational and health outcomes for children associated with stable housing, healthy development and a strong educational foundation.
Social services provide financial support for families, but often penalize working families for progressing beyond eligibility thresholds. A small wage increase could result in a net loss if the increase bumps a family over that threshold.
Two-generation solutions offer a thoughtful approach for strengthening families’ economic well-being and supporting strong outcomes for children and youth, in our community and everywhere.
Mark A. Trowbridge,
chair, Miami-Dade Coalition of Chambers,
James R. Haj,
The Children’s Trust