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2Gen Partners

The Department of Human Services engages partners to: 

  1. Focus on reducing poverty among children and families using a Two-Generation Approach;
  2. Create effective pathways to economic opportunity, including access to mainstream education, training and individualized services for those with barriers to employment; 
  3. Ensure that families have access to economic and social supports to support upward mobility, while also assuring healthy child development; 
  4. Help families build social capital that can support both resilience and upward mobility; and 
  5. Engage and listen to the voices of the families.

The Department of Human Services aims to establish various partnerships to provide services with an emphasis on improving education, providing economic supports, promoting health and well-being, and social capital consistent with the 2Gen Approach. The Department is interested in engaging entities, including local government, profit and nonprofit direct service organizations, which have program models, experience and expertise that can provide services to help the Department achieve significant and measurable progress toward placing families on a better path to economic security.


Community partners play a vital role in moving the DHS mission forward under the 2Gen approach. Acknowledging that effective partnerships are essential to moving the needle on poverty, DHS is proud to partner with organizations who are committed to implementing outcome-based services to the children and families of Tennessee.


Multi-Year 2Gen Partners

Listed in alphabetical order.

Agape Child and Family Services

Agape Child & Family Services, Inc.

The poverty of children, parents and their communities are arguably one of the greatest individual and systemic realities in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2017, a total of 17.1% of the whole Memphis area population and 27.4% of children under the age of 18 lived below the federal poverty line.

As a poverty-reduction initiative, Agape Child & Family Services, Inc. (Agape) expanded its current nine-year place-based strategy, Powerlines Community Network (PCN), to fully implement the two-generation (2Gen) paradigm, as strategically planned by Agape in 2015. PCN is a place-based, collective impact community transformation initiative, modeled, in part, after the nationally-acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone. PCN is focused on serving at-risk neighborhoods by connecting residents to resources that will help create a more nurturing environment for children and families.

The three-year funding provided through DHS supports the expansion of the model to additional apartment communities and schools, and also expansion of the scope and depth of services. Agape offers this 2Gen approach to low-income families living in three multi-family apartments and 16 schools in the under-resourced areas of Frayser, Hickory Hill/Southeast Memphis, and Whitehaven communities. Additionally, Agape’s 2Gen model strives to enhance community-wide, systems-level change.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee (BBBSMT) uses a 2Gen approach that aims to mitigate the effects of toxic stress on youth and their caregivers by providing professionally-supported one-to-one mentoring services to youth, ages 9-16, of low-income families in Davidson and Rutherford Counties. Mentoring is offered through two programs: 

  • Community Based Mentoring: “Bigs” (mentors) and “Littles” (youth) engage in community activities together for 4-8 plus hours per month for a year, having fun and sharing time while developing a strong, enduring connection
  • Site Based Mentoring: “Bigs” and “Littles” meet for 1 hour each week at a designated site, usually a school, and engage in educational and recreational activities while developing a strong, enduring connection.

Through these mentoring relationships, youth can learn skills of social engagement, resiliency, and communication. Positive relationships have been proven to act as a buffer for the effects of toxic stress, which allows children to develop to their potential.

New neural connections are made through this connection while neglected skills such as language are strengthened, and resiliency is increased. These positive experiences serve as protective factors and help youth cope with current or past adverse experiences and recover more easily from future setbacks.

BBBSMT is also working to reinforce the impact of these relationships by further aligning family/ caregiver engagement with the Five Protective Factors: parental resilience, social connections, concrete support during times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children.

Each caregiver with a youth in the BBBSMT program is assigned a designated match support specialist that provides training and ongoing support for the match, as well as resources and referrals to families needing assistance. This can include connecting families to a multitude of community resources to assist with housing, basic needs, counseling, victim services, employment training, legal services and more.

Nurse Family Partnership

Nurse Family Partnership - East Tennessee State University

The Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) is a nationally evidence-based home visiting program for first-time, low-income mothers. The NFP has been in existence for approximately 40 years and currently has sites in 42 states, six tribal nations, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The objective of the program is to develop healthier children — physically, mentally, and socially — by helping mothers, dads and other family members develop positive parenting skills, improve economic well-being and reduce dependency on public aid.

The NFP model requires that all mothers participate in the program voluntarily; must not have previously parented a child; be no more than 28 weeks pregnant when first enrolled in the program; and have a yearly household income that is less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty guideline for the local program. Typically, the program serves the family up until the child is 30 months old. 

The Northeast Tennessee NFP serves first-time mothers in Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties. Currently, there are approximately 90 women enrolled in the program along with 58 children. Initially, the Nurse Home Visitor (NHV) will visit the mother in her home weekly for one month and every two weeks thereafter. The NHVs record weight gain during pregnancy, nutrition habits, blood pressure, other health issues, planning for the baby, etc. The NHV also ensures that the mother is in an environment that is safe for both her and her child. However, depending upon the mother’s needs, the NHV and mother may determine that the visits are needed more or less frequently. After the birth of the child the NHV will visit the mother weekly for one month to provide early interventions in cases of postpartum complications.

Once the child is born, NHVs concentrate on baby’s health, weight gain, developmental markers, the involvement of mother and other family members, providing information and techniques for parenting, promoting visits to a Pediatrician’s office, on-time immunizations, healthy environment at home and a variety of family issues/challenges. After the first postpartum month the frequency of visiting reverts to semi-weekly or monthly visitation based on the mother’s and child’s needs.

Additionally, the NHVs encourage and enable moms, dads and other involved family members to advance their economic position and build useful social networks. 

Project Return

Project Return

Project Return’s 2Gen program is implemented through a commitment to ending destructive cycles. A parent who is criminally involved, not financially stable, and/or exhibits violence or drug use in the home, will cause stress for the child and negatively influence him/her. With an extensive and individualized job search, wraparound services, and critical ongoing support, a formerly incarcerated parent can soon become a positive influence, increasing the child’s likelihood for success.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most incarcerated parents have very little to no communication with their children. In fact, many have no custody at all, and are not necessarily seeking any. For those parents who are unable to provide an immediate direct effect on their child, there is opportunity for a valuable indirect effect. Employment and education on the part of the formerly incarcerated parent are important, positive, albeit indirect, impacts for the next generation.

Regardless of the legal situation or geographical location, a Non-Custodial Parent (NCP) can gain employment, improve his/her economic standing, and pay child support; thereby not only supporting the child, but also mending the negative images a child may have of his/her parent. This indirect contact is self-healing for both parent and child.

In order to facilitate both direct and indirect impact, Project Return has revamped and expanded upon its services to incorporate the principles and priorities of a 2Gen approach. Such services were and are woven into our all-encompassing service menu and address the four pillars of 2Gen.

Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services

Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) and Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS)

TALS/MALS provides civil legal services to up to 75 low income families to help them through their Cycles of Success program. With partners DHS, Agape and Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) in Shelby County, TALS has created a new service delivery model with a central point of entry to access civil and social services. The Cycles of Success program model ensures that services are delivered in a way that minimizes stress to families as they try to navigate different agencies in an effort to improve their circumstances.

TALS and MALS schedule times to be on site at human services partner organizations, which are already trusted resources for families in Shelby County. Child care is provided to reduce stress and to facilitate more open conversation so parents can discuss barriers and problems they are facing in their family without their children overhearing the conversation. Clients meet with TALS to complete their Legal Wellness Checkup. The Legal Wellness Checkup (a series of questions relating to all aspects of the family’s life) serves the relatively same purpose as an annual physical exam with a doctor.

The Legal Wellness Checkup assesses the client’s overall wellness and identifies any problem areas that need to be addressed, in terms of both intervention and prevention. TALS’ attorneys discuss the family’s Legal Wellness Checkup Report with them, and the family decides whether they want to move forward with legal help to address any of the issues identified in their report. Sometimes, families are satisfied with the knowledge they gain from completing the checkup. Others decide that they want to move forward with TALS and MALS to address legal problems. Regardless, TALS’ attorneys remain available to families as their “legal coach,” texting monthly to check in and offering to answer questions or discuss 20 any situation the family is facing to help them avoid legal pitfalls. Those who choose to move forward are paired with a local legal aid attorney at MALS for ongoing legal representation. MALS also builds capacity among participating families by offering cohort education sessions on common issues the families are facing and by offering free legal clinics to address new issues that may arise.

United Way of Metro Nashville

United Way of Metropolitan Nashville

The United Way of Metropolitan Nashville (UWMN) provides intensive case management for families living in poverty in Davidson County. UWMN launched the Family Empowerment 2Gen Pilot Program in partnership with DHS on May 15, 2017. Since more than 37% of residents in the North Nashville area lives at or below the poverty line compared to 18.6% for the Nashville-Davidson Metro area and the unemployment rate in North Nashville is 15.5%, UWMN decided to focus its efforts and resources in this specific area. The vision of the pilot was to create two sites that can become “hubs” of services easily accessible by families, and have services offered for both parents and children simultaneously. UWMN works with community partners such as Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, Catholic Charities, Youth LIFE Learning Center, United Way Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), and the McGruder Family Resource Center (FRC) to implement the Family Empowerment program. The program uses an intensive case management service model integrated into the community to engage, assess, and assist up to 140 families over two years. Case Managers are stationed at five different locations across the county to be accessible to all families, including Fannie Battle and McGruder Family Resource Center under the DHS partnership. 

The FRC has a history of understanding the critical importance of bringing community voice to the table. The FRC has served as a platform to mobilize and bring residents together; gather community opinion through community conversations; and serve as a central gathering place that fosters community and belonging. The Family Empowerment Program will utilize these strengths to identify families for program participation and keep the voice and needs of the community central to program activities. 

Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis

Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis

For more than 23 years, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) has played a major role as a backbone organization aligning people, resources, and coordinating community-based services through the 2Gen approach. It’s Connect Vision 2020 2G for Tennessee program directly supports the overall goal of the organization’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan to reduce poverty in the 38126 zip code area by 1% per year over a five year period by accomplishing the following objectives: 

  • To increase 2Gen success by providing case management and wraparound resources for up to 1,000 low-income families living in the 38126 zip code area.
  • To improve career-life skills for at least 175 low-income families resulting in 60% of program completers placed in skilled-training and/or employment earning sustainable wages.
  • To increase the number of children prepared to enter and learn in kindergarten for at least 50 children, ages 0-5 that are identified and placed in quality child care. 
An integral part of the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan is the 2Gen approach, which enhances the traditional case management model by engaging mothers, guardians and their children when planning for the long-term prosperity of the family. This holistic approach creates an intentional integration of support and services for parents and children. 

More 2Gen Partners and the Focus on Local Promising Practices

In late 2017, grant funding was made available to expand the 2Gen: Building A Thriving Tennessee programs and services. Grants are types of contracts that are used to award funding or property to a grant recipient or grantee, benefiting the general public or some population of the general public. DHS structures grants in a way that makes sense from a financial perspective while also ensuring partners deliver results, supported by open and honest dialogue about the resources required. In some instances, grant contracts for services will be preceded by smaller planning and development grants to develop an organization’s internal capacity and guide its expansion of the 2Gen framework. 

The following listings are Community Innovation grants and Building A Thriving Tennessee grants that were issued in fiscal year 2018. Although the Community Innovation Grants support localized 2Gen efforts on the grassroots community level, the hope is that these foundational grants will help local service providers grow to the level of our larger 2Gen partners. 

Community Innovation Grantees:

Building a Thriving Tennessee Grantees:

Posted July 9, 2019