• July/August 2018
  • Vol. 19, No. 6

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Conceptual Frameworks for Improving Outcomes for Both Parents and Their Children

A brief from the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, within the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offers two conceptual and complementary frameworks for simultaneously improving parental economic security and child well-being. The frameworks offer insight to researchers and program administrators interested in understanding how programs that seek to boost both overall family economic security and well-being may do so through intentionally combined activities and approaches.

The first framework considers the services and outcomes for children and their caregivers. It draws from developmental science and economics to gauge potential impacts on both parents and their children as well as the overall home environment. 

The first framework identifies the populations served; describes the service model for both parents (or other caregivers) and children within the same family; explains the important role of intentionality, quality, and mutual parent and child motivation in determining the delivery of services and ultimate outcomes; and offers potential shorter and longer-term outcomes for children, parents, and the home environment. Services for parents include those related to employment, education, the development of specific skills, supporting and promoting family well-being, and home visiting and/or parenting classes. Services for children include those that promote healthy development or academic success. The framework shows how the content, delivery, and schedule of services for both parents and children complement each other and potentially influence outcomes.

The second framework explores the impact of varying degrees of service collaboration on parents and their children. It builds on the first framework by offering strategies for achieving the desired parent and child outcomes through partnerships that occur at varying levels (e.g., communication, joint missions, resource sharing). For example, the brief points to child development and job training programs that could increase the degree to which they collaborate when delivering services designed to benefit the whole family.

Conceptual Frameworks for Intentional Approaches to Improving Economic Security and Child Well-Being is available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/resource/conceptual-frameworks-intentional-approaches-improving-economic-security-child-well-being.

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