Provides highlights from a roundtable of experts convened to discuss two-generational strategies designed to improve outcomes for immigrant families and children, given the changing demographics and the need to address children’s development and parents’ economic success since both may be at risk because of the interaction of poverty and other barriers.

“This brief highlights themes and action steps drawn from a roundtable on Two-Generational Strategies to Improve Immigrant Family and Child Outcomes, hosted by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, on April 23-24, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The roundtable and this brief come at a…time…when immigrants and their children are such a significant part of changing American demographics that they are…[linked]…to the nation’s future success: one-quarter of the nation’s young children are children of immigrants. At the same time, important and time-sensitive opportunities exist to influence practice and policy to better serve immigrant families. As Bob Giloth, Vice President of the Center for Community and Economic Opportunity at the Annie E. Casey Foundation said during his welcoming statement, ‘The time for this roundtable couldn’t be better. It’s really an opportunity moment.’

The roundtable brought together senior-level policymakers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, and foundation leaders from worlds that too often don’t have the opportunity to connect: the world of policy and service delivery for low-income families (including experts in early childhood programs, in workforce development and postsecondary education, and in two-generational programs that serve both parents and children together) and the world of immigrant-serving organizations and immigration policy” (p.1).

“With major policy changes underway as a result of recent Congressional action in the nation’s child care and workforce programs—both requiring new state plans in the spring of 2016, as well as federal executive action to promote immigrant integration—participants saw a host of specific steps they could organize around for state and local action. They also saw opportunities for immigrant stakeholders and early childhood stakeholders to work together for early childhood resources in federal and state budgets as well as the potential for two-generational coalitions that could also argue for workforce resources” (p.2).

(Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Two Generational Strategies to Improve Immigrant Family and Child Outcomes: Summary and Next Steps from the April 2015 Roundtable

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Throughout the roundtable, participants emphasized the urgency and importance of this exchange. They concluded that policy experts and practitioners who care about young children and about economic security…simply can’t do their jobs without paying attention to immigrant families…At the same time, participants thought that experts, advocates, and practitioners from immigrant-focused organizations needed more opportunities to connect to early childhood and workforce leaders…in order to seize opportunities that could improve families’ lives. Finally, participants found the growing research and policy focus on “two-generational” strategies that aim to help both children and parents a perfect fit for immigrant families, because so many young children in these families would benefit from early childhood education opportunities and so many parents would benefit from access to career opportunities” (p.1). Throughout the roundtable, four consistent themes emerged: “1. Spreading the Sense of Urgency and Opportunity. Participants urged additional, carefully structured convenings around the country to share the knowledge, energy, and opportunity to plan collaboratively that emerged from this roundtable with stakeholders. 2. Creating Strategic Partnerships. No organization can successfully do this work alone, so building partnerships between immigrant-serving and traditional organizations, child-focused and adult-focused organizations, and organizations with strong reach among communities of color and those with strong reach among immigrants are all key next steps. 3. Building the New Mainstream Institutions…Participants offered thoughtful suggestions about how to get there, including clarity and accountability about the standards for success, transparency about performance, incentives for the required changes, opportunities for collaboration and support for capacity-building. 4. Thinking Both Big and Small. Practitioners in the group noted that serving families requires responding to today’s urgent concern in a way that supports far bigger change in the future. The analogy for the broader work, recommended by many participants, is to keep the focus simultaneously on immediate, incremental steps and an ambitious long-run vision” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author)