Two Generation Approaches to Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Research has documented the returns to investment on high-quality early childhood education, which traditionally has been at the core of CAP Tulsa’s work. Another strand of research has shown parents’ level of educational attainment is the best predictor of economic mobility for their children. A two-generation approach combines these threads to multiply the return on investment for early childhood education by increasing the economic stability and mobility of the family in which the child lives. In simple terms, a two-generation strategy engages children and parents together to build mutual motivation to achieve educational outcomes. Ascend at the Aspen Institute leads the way in bringing together organizations like CAP that are embracing the two generation approach, such as the Jeremiah Program and Endicott College’s Keys to Degrees Program.

The early childhood education programs at CAP Tulsa have always served parents and children together; indeed, the Head Start model includes empowering parents to become advocates for their children and encouraging parents’ engagement in the classroom. The new approach explicitly emphasizes parents’ educational attainment and opportunities for employment. The first foray CAP made into this arena was with CareerAdvance® our training program for parents interested in careers in the healthcare field. Innovation Lab works with departments across the agency to build on and expand that program’s success so that CAP can serve parents with other educational and career goals.