It's About Connections...

From Jim Horan, Executive Director, CAHS

Welcome to the re-launch of the CAHS Newsletter, Connections.  Our intention is for this to be more than an update on CAHS’s work to promote Family Economic Success, but also a resource to readers to engage in fighting child and family poverty and building opportunity and equality.

This is a great time launch, because we have very exciting news: the W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded CAHS a three-year, $600,000 grant to support two-generation work at CAHS and throughout the state.  “Two generations” refers to efforts to promote the financial and educational success of young children and their parents simultaneously.

Connecticut is on the cutting edge of two-gen work, thanks to the efforts of the Connecticut Commission on Children and the General Assembly, which last year enacted legislation to create better outcomes for children and parents statewide and in six pilot communities.  You can learn more about two-gen strategies throughout this issue of the newsletter, including an interview with Elaine Zimmerman of the Commission on Children. 

The Kellogg grant validates CAHS’s work on Family Economic Success over more than 10 years.  Kellogg awarded the grant in part because of CAHS’s experience with both policy change and fostering effective programs in low-income communities.  The grant also reflects recognition among nonprofits and funders that we need to do business differently to achieve “collective impact”:

  • Kids grow up in families, so we need to create opportunities for children and parents.
  • Families need a range of supports, from quality early education to adult and post-secondary education, and including health and mental healthcare and connections to jobs.
  • Two-gen provides a framework for policies, programs, and systems to work together to support the family as a whole and build family success.

This two-generation initiative is a true public-private partnership.  Private philanthropic support allows all state funding to go to the pilot projects in Bridgeport, Colchester, Greater Hartford, Meriden, New Haven, and Norwalk, to create true two-gen initiatives and fill gaps in funding.  Kellogg funds will support development of templates to create better outcomes, technical assistance to the communities, and evaluation.  Kellogg’s support builds on a prior grant to CAHS from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and on-going TA to the Commission on Children from ASCEND at the Aspen Institute, a leader in two-gen initiatives.

CAHS’s roles will be to do what we do best, serving as a facilitator, partner, resource, and innovator.  Liz Fraser, a CAHS Policy Analyst with programmatic two-gen experience before she came to CAHS, will lead our efforts working with local communities, ensuring adequate technical assistance, and helping coordinate a robust evaluation.

Elsewhere in this issue:

  • CAHS Policy Director Roger Senserrich, on the 2016 Legislative Session
  • A conversation with Elaine Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Children
  • Links
  • Hope you enjoy
  • To learn more about the work we are doing or this very exciting grant and the two-generation work it will soon by supporting, call 860-951-2212

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