Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

In partnership with ACF’s program offices, OPRE conducts research and evaluation projects to inform programs and allow the children and families served by ACF to benefit from the best available evidence. Over the past several years, OPRE has invested in a number of projects focused on two-generation approaches, or approaches that intentionally combine intensive, high-quality, child-focused and adult-focused services that aim to improve outcomes for both generations:

In 2013, OPRE awarded four grants through the Head Start University Partnerships: Dual-Generation Approaches funding opportunity announcement. Grantees have implemented and evaluated innovative approaches that combine intensive, high-quality, child-focused programs with intensive, high-quality, adult-focused services to support both parent well-being and children’s school readiness, within the context of HS. Two projects integrated adult interventions into HS, with one focused on depression and the other focused on education and training; two projects added parent components to self-regulation interventions for children. Results of these projects are currently emerging.

In 2018, OPRE published a report and three briefs describing the results of the project Integrated Approaches to Supporting Child Development and Improving Family Economic Security. One brief describes features of currently operating two-generation programs, such as their maturity and target populations. A second brief presents two conceptual frameworks to guide research and program development. A third brief outlines next steps for research and evaluation.

Following up on the Integrated Approaches project, in 2019 OPRE launched a new project, Next Steps for Rigorous Research on Two-Generation Approaches. This project will work directly with several two-generation programs to conduct formative evaluations aimed at strengthening programs and moving toward evaluations of effectiveness. Additional components of the project include addressing measurement issues and building evaluation capacity in the two-generation field more broadly.

OPRE’s Division of Child and Family Development (DCFD) is responsible for research and evaluation related to HS programs, child care, and early childhood development more broadly, as well as child maltreatment and child welfare services. More information regarding current research projects can be found in its most recent annual report.

Early childhood is also addressed by OPRE’s Division of Family Strengthening (DFS), which focuses on the program areas of strengthening relationships, supporting fatherhood, nurturing children through their families, reducing teen pregnancy, supporting positive youth development, and preventing family violence. More information regarding current research projects can be found in its most recent annual report.

Finally, OPRE’s Division of Economic Independence (DEI) has primary responsibility for welfare and family self-sufficiency research, including research addressing the TANF program, employment, and education and training programs. Several evaluation projects are currently including or exploring the inclusion of two-generation approaches among their participating sites: Evaluations of Health Profession Opportunity Grants, the Next Generation of Enhanced Employment Services Project, and the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families Project. More information regarding DEI’s current research projects can be found in its most recent annual report.

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