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Newsroom DCF announces 2Gen Kansas program grantees

DCF announces 2Gen Kansas program grantees
Kansas to invest nearly $11.5 million to reduce intergenerational poverty to stabilize and empower families

Topeka, Kan. – The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) today announced a new approach to improving the health, social, and economic outcomes of the next generation. By utilizing $11.5 million of the agency’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding, DCF is launching 2Gen Kansas. 

The two-generation (2Gen Approach​), led by Ascend at the Aspen Institute, works to end ​​ intergenerational poverty by supporting children and their parents or care providers – as a family unit – to move the whole family forward. Ten organizations will receive funding.

“We believe this approach will build family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children and the adults in their lives,” said DCF Secretary Laura Howard. “This support will increase opportunities for families to become stable, connected and empower them to progress towards their personal, educational and career goals.”
The agencies will serve as an access point by assisting families in applying for programs such as Food Assistance, also known as SNAP, USDA Commodity Programs, Child Care Assistance, Low Income Energy Assistance Program, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services. They will be required to participate in ongoing training and collaborative meetings and recommend one parent being served by their organizations to serve on a statewide 2Gen parent advisory council.

“It will result in coordinated access to systems and structures that are necessary for families to thrive economically and socially,” she continued.

“Kansas DCF joins a growing number of state agencies implementing 2Gen approaches to unlock the potential of children and their families together,” said Marjorie Sims, Managing Director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “Adopting this family-centered mindset not only boosts the well-being of children and their parents, but it also offers a model to better integrate the systems of support for these communities. We are energized by DCF’s investment in families, which is a culmination of years ​
of work from family-serving organizations across the state and country.”

The 10 contracts will be in place from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2026, with an optional renewal of one additional two-year ​​grant. DCF received 24 proposals and has awarded the grants to the following community partners: 
Listing of key staff
Recommended Agency Counties Served
Award Amount​
International Rescue Committee
Sedgwick ​
Mental Health Association of South-Central Kansas, Inc.
Barber, Butler, Cowley, Elf, Greenwood, Harper, 
Kingman, Pratt, Sedgwick, Sumner​
Kansas Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs
Atchison, Brown, Douglas, Geary, Jackson,  Jefferson, Johnson, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Reno, Riley, Sedgwick, Shawnee
​FosterAdopt Connect  ​Johnson, Wyandotte, Cherokee, Bourbon
​Mirror, Inc. Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, Douglas,
Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie
​KVC Behavioral Healthcare, Inc​
​Chautauqua, Montgomery, Labette, Cherokee,
Crawford, Neosho, Wilson, Woodson, Allen, Bourbon, Linn, Anderson, Coffey, Osage, Franklin, Miami, Douglas, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Pottawatomie, Jackson, Marshall, 
Nemaha, Brown, Doniphan, Atchison, Jefferson
​Connections to Success ​
​Wyandotte, Leavenworth, Johnson  ​$878,190.82
​Children First ​Sedgwick  $300,000.00
​O’Connell Children’s Shelter​
​Douglas  ​$609,447.84
​SparkWheel (formerly known as Communities in Schools)  ​Bourbon, Butler, Crawford, Douglas, Finney, Ford, 
Franklin, Labette, Lyon, Marshall, Montgomery, Neosho, 
Shawnee, Wilson, Wyandotte
​Total​ ​$11,491,960.08

International Rescue Committee, Community Connections: The goal of Community Connections is to help close the gap in accessible, sustainable poverty reduction services by providing primary prevention and early intervention services to 120 families with children under the age of 18 in Sedgwick County within a two-year period. While the program serves all families who meet eligibility criteria, it specializes in serving families who have experienced forced displacement and trauma and who may not be able to be served by other organizations due to low or no English language literacy. Community Connections uses 2Gen approaches that provide child-centered, family-based programming that meets the needs of all family members and that is coordinated and complementary to existing resources in the community. The program will use specific trauma-informed strategies to increase stability, grow social connections, decrease maltreatment risk, and move families toward personal and family goals. 

Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, Inc: Service provisions will include familial case management, family mentoring, parental and familial education utilizing the Strengthening Families curriculum, and access to mental health/or substance use treatment. The organization will track outcomes for children and caregivers simultaneously, as well as goals focusing on the entire family; to offer comprehensive wrap-around services designed to empower families to make progress towards eliminating the cycle of poverty. Youth will receive mentoring and leadership skills training to propel them forward, 
while parents will receive parent training, prosocial skills, and assistance with job seeking. The entire family will receive mental health services, education in communication and boundaries, and mentoring support.

Kansas Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, BGC Statewide 2Gen Project: The Alliance will provide subgrants to 13 partner Boys & Girls Clubs who will, together with 27 partner organizations, expand opportunities for low-income children and families to increase their economic stability, make progress on their educational goals, deepen their social connections, and improve their health and well-being. The Alliance will focus on the Child-Parent approach. Performance measures for youth include on-time grade progression, career exploration, financial literacy, improved social adjustment, and social-emotional skills. Performance measures for adults include increased knowledge of strategies to support their children’s learning, increased economic stability, increased confidence in raising healthy children, and increased knowledge of how to access health insurance for themselves and their children.

FosterAdopt Connect, Kinship Navigator Program: The program will combat intergenerational poverty by supporting relatives and kin taking placement of children who would otherwise be placed in non-kin foster homes. The proposed project aims to take advantage of the surging population of relatives and kin providing care to non-biological children (including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other kin) in Kansas and maintain the placement of children in these households by providing Kinship Navigator services and financial assistance.

Mirror, Inc., Work for Success Program: Work for Success will support the formation and maintenance of two-parent families through healthy relationship skills training, parenting connections training, prosocial leisure, and educational activities for families, as well as Personal and Professional Development (PPD) courses. PPD will assist unemployed or underemployed parents with employment, achieving financial independence, and providing stable homes for their children.

KVC Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., 2Gen Program: KVC will provide one-on-one, in-home, virtual, and group interventions to families with essential resources and referrals, ultimately addressing the underlying risk factors contributing to poverty. A Family Navigator will assess the entire family and provide or connect with various services that meet the family's needs. In conjunction with the family, the Family Navigator will create an individualized service plan to assist the family in reducing risks associated with poverty, improving overall stability, and strengthening protective factors.

Connections to Success 2Gen Program: Connections to Success offers a range of services that align with the 2Gen model. Services include evidence-based Personal and Professional Development Training for parents/caregivers (accompanied by individualized coaching/case management from Life Transformation Coaches, linkages to career training and education, and placements in jobs paying above the minimum wage); best practices in building social capital (through community connections, mentoring, and peer support activities); the evidence-based Strengthening Families program, plus academic enrichment programming, and social-emotional skill-building provided by Heartland 180; resources and services (by referral) for housing, transportation, child support, legal assistance, health care, and behavioral health services, and opportunities for parents/caregivers and adolescents to participate in human trafficking prevention education.

Children First: The program will impact both parents and children who are living in poverty through a three-generation approach and a combination of services using activities that are evidence-based or evidence-informed and other supports. Senior citizens serving in a “grandparent role” will mentor, encourage, and follow families through their journey out of poverty. Priority will be given to families experiencing or in danger of experiencing a housing crisis and families experiencing poverty.

O’Connell Children’s Shelter, Generations Program. The program will function as One Complete Solution for Douglas County families at risk of encountering the child welfare and juvenile justice systems by providing whole-family services aligned with the evidence-based Homebuilders program model. Homebuilders is a home- and community-based intensive family preservation services treatment program designed to avoid unnecessary placement of children and youth into foster care, group care, psychiatric hospitals, or juvenile justice facilities.

SparkWheel (formerly Communities in Schools): SparkWheel strives to break the cycle of generational poverty by placing staff to work full-time daily inside schools to partner with teachers, mobilize the community, and offer extra help for students to thrive. The program will target family members and students in pre-K through college attending 43 schools in 15 geographically diverse counties across Kansas in both rural and urban settings.

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The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) mission is to protect children, strengthen families, and promote adult self-sufficiency. DCF’s more than 35 service centers across the state offer a wide range of support services, including vulnerable adults, connecting them with resources, supports, and networks in their home communities.