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About the Minnesota 2-Generation Policy Network

The Minnesota 2-Generation Policy Network is a joint-effort of state agencies, counties, local organizations, and the White Earth Nation. The Network is designed to advance two-generation approaches to policies and practices that improve outcomes for children and parents, together.

What is "2-Gen"?

The relationship between outcomes for children and the well-being and stability of the adult(s) in their lives is both intuitive and well-demonstrated in research. Two-Generation approaches to policy and practice explicitly recognize that relationship between parent and child and create opportunities for addressing needs of both children and parents, together. The Two-Generation approach seeks to strengthen opportunities for families across key domains such as education, economic assets, health and well-being, career pathways, and social capital. Serving families in this holistic way often requires collaboration, integration, and relationship building across service areas, levels of government, and sectors. Other terms to describe this approach are 'whole family' or multi-generation initiatives.

Our Vision

The vision of the Minnesota 2-Generation Policy Network is that the state of Minnesota will have families that thrive, services that are integrated to support children and families, and systems that support integration and effectiveness. At the core of this are families that have economic assets, social capital, health and well-being, postsecondary and career pathways, and nurturing learning environments.

How we'll get there

To do achieve this vision, we are committed to system redesign and service integration centered on family well-being in which state and local partners collaboratively redesign systems, policies, and practices, and families influence service delivery.

In November 2016, the State of Minnesota was awarded a two-year grant from the National Governor’s Association and Center for Law and Social Policy’s “Opportunity for Parents and Children Thriving Together: Two-Generation State Policy Network” to improve outcomes for children and families with complex needs. Find our more about the strategies we're using to achieve this vision.

Two-generation approaches focus on creating opportunities for and addressing needs of both children and parents together in ways that are aligned and mutually reinforcing and take into account the interrelated nature of the domains of a thriving livelihood: education, career pathways, social capital, health and wellbeing, and economic assets like wages and housing.

When describing these, we often use the concepts and images (below) of the "continuum" and "gears" to help us shape key elements of any 2-Gen approach.


2-Gen Principles

As we worked with with our partners in the 2-Gen Network in 2017 and 2018, it was clear that the model was beyond the "who" (children and their givers) and the "what" (the gears, above). There were foundational elements of the work — principles — of "how" the work is done. The principles shown below emerged through these interagency and cross-sector efforts during 2017 and 2018. The principles are equally important and interrelated.

To support programs or divisions in their work of deepening their 2-Gen practice, we've created a 2-Gen Principles to Practice Tool to surface strengths and opportunities for moving the principles into practice for those who create policy or manage programs that affect families. Find that tool here.


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2-Gen is not a fixed model or a brand new concept; in fact, in both the public and nonprofit sectors, Minnesota has a strong history of 2-Gen type thinking, taking into account the inextricable link between parent and child. The Minnesota 2-Gen Policy Network seeks to use this intentional approach to program, policy, practice, and research to orient changes within systems so that the wellbeing of families is at the center. This means learning alongside partners in the system: counties, tribes, social service organizations, and others.

Take a look at our strategies and upcoming trainings and events for opportunities or contact us directly at to connect!

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