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Whole Family Approaches Show Promise – South Carolina’s Inaugural Two-Generation Summit

“This program has really taught me to be the person that I needed when I was [a child]. And because of [it] my entire life changed.” - Promise Stephens 

Serving the Entire Village: The South Carolina Two-Generation Approach Summit, took place virtually on June 2, 2021. The Two-Generation (2Gen) approach builds family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children and adults in their lives together. It recognizes that families come in all different shapes and sizes and that families define themselves. Participants of the Summit heard from speakers from Children’s Trust of South Carolina, South Carolina First Steps, SC DSS, South Carolina Center for Father’s and Families, Carolina Health Center, Inc., Florence Crittenton Programs of SC, The Mary Black Foundation, Helping HandsUnited Way of Anderson County, and convening organization, Fact Forward. Each speaker discussed how they utilize the 2Gen approach within their work.  

During the Summit, participants heard from Promise Stephens, a participant of Carolina Health Center’s Parents as Teachers program. Stephens, who will soon graduate with an associate degree in general technology with a diploma in medical assisting, spoke while on a lunch break during clinical training. She shared her experience with the 2Gen approach and how it helps both parents and children together.  

“If it wasn’t for this program, I would have never been able to come here to school because I wouldn’t have been able to afford childcare. In March [my husband] took every dime that we had in the bank, and left me with not one, not two, but three children to take care of by myself. I have no job because I’m a full-time student,” Stephens said. “I called Miss Fonda crying because I am about to graduate…What do I do? I can’t pay $300 a week for daycare. If I don’t [send them] to daycare, I’m not going to graduate.” 

Stephens went on to explain how Fonda, her Parents as Teachers Home Visitor, helped her find day care vouchers, bringing the weekly cost of $267 down to $40. 

“That right there meant I could pay my rent again, for another month, that right there meant that I had enough money to buy diapers for the rest of the month.”  

Parents who are struggling financially or otherwise do not live in a silo. For parents to get promoted or obtain education leading to higher-paying jobs, they need to know that their children are in a safe, caring environment. That’s the idea behind 2Gen.   

“Promise’s story was an inspiration and a true testament to the power of whole family approaches,” Doug Taylor, Director of Community Programs and Evaluation at Fact Forward, said. “Summit participants left energized and excited to learn more. One participant noted that they would begin ‘view[ing] clients from a whole family’ perspective and not just as ‘individuals going through tough situations.’” 

If you’re interested in learning more about the 2Gen approach, consider joining South Carolina’s 2Gen Community of Practice where state and local leaders interested in integrating whole family approaches into their work with children and families will connect quarterly to share ideas, learn from one another, and brainstorm innovative ways of expanding whole families approaches across South Carolina. For more information, contact Doug Taylor at dtaylor@factforward.org.  

The project described is possible by funding through Children’s Trust of SC by Grant Number 4 SP1AH000077-02-01 from the HHS Office of Population Affairs. Contents are solely the responsibility of the organizers and trainers and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Population Affairs. 

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