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How it works

The Department of Human Services provides grants to organizations throughout Minnesota to engage families and communities in work that creates innovative program designs, called “prototypes”, to address racial disparities in human services and outcomes.

The department provides support with program development, evaluation services and collaboration opportunities to identify and break down policy barriers. The organizations share what they have learned with each other to spark feedback and encourage statewide adoption.

How it started

Whole Family Systems Initiative brings together and expands upon the work and lessons from the Economic Assistance and Employment Services Division’s 2-Generation Policy Network (cohort 1), the Child Care Services Division’s Early Childhood Systems Reform project and the Child Safety and Permanency Division's work to bring equitable outcomes in child welfare. 

In 2019, these three divisions in the Children and Family Services Administration combined funding to offer grants for a second cohort of seven local organizations called Whole Family Systems Initiative.

Promising Prototypes

Grantees work with families to create innovative program designs called “prototypes,” which address racial disparities in human services and outcomes facing the families in their community. Learn more about the prototypes from each cohort on the 2-Generation Policy Network and Whole Family Systems Initiative pages.

Father and son smiling

Peoples Prosperity Guaranteed Income

The City of Saint Paul launched the Peoples' Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot in 2020. This innovative program provided 150 Saint Paul families with $500 per month in guaranteed income for 18 months. 

The pilot's goal was simple: get cash to families with no strings attached so they can buy things they need, like food, housing and other essentials.

"The Peoples' Prosperity Pilot was a life raft and felt like a brighter pathway opened up for my kids and a little weight - a big weight, actually - just kind of lifted."

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More from Whole Family Systems Initiative

Children playing in school

Cohort 1: 2-Generation Policy Network (2016 - 2021)

2-Generation Policy Network was the first iteration of Minnesota’s system change work. It was designed to advance two-generation approaches to policies and practices that improve outcomes for children and parents, together.

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Kindergarten-age children playing

Cohort 2: Whole Family Systems Initiative (2019 - 2024)

Whole Family Systems Initiative provided grants to support seven organizations across Minnesota in a multi-year, co-creative process. The project expands upon whole family approaches to uncover and address the systemic racial, geographic and economic inequities families face when accessing state services.

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Gears stating "public policy"

The process: How change happens

The process encourages a system of collaboration and feedback from families, site teams and state agency partners to diagnose problems, develop prototypes, understand policy barriers, evaluate progress, and remove system barriers in programs, practices and policies.

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Partners in change

Whole Family Systems Initiative is a collaborative partnership to create system change. The work can only be accomplished by working together with partners at all levels of the system.

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Resources, tools and events

We’ve developed resources and tools to support individuals and teams interested in furthering their whole family systems work – building it into everyday practice and guiding policy decisions.

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