Utilizing dual generation approaches in our work with family systems and community systems, Urban Strategies connects youth to adults in the community who have the capacity and knowledge to support high achievement.[/toggle]
Our in-depth assessment, family development planning and service coordination protocols acknowledge and account for ways in which two generations can learn from and influence (i.e., support or impede) one another. Our case managers are trained in dual-generational psycho-education techniques so that they are able to leverage family values to intentionally focus the adult on his/her responsibilities towards dependents.
Our dual generation approach is embodied in the underlying principles that govern the development of our partnerships with community stakeholders, institutions and other service providers. Since most of our partners do not have a place-based approach to human capital building, we often take on the important responsibility of channeling and coordinating their contribution to revitalizing neighborhoods. To the greatest extent possible, we coordinate and leverage existing expertise, programs and resources to create collective impact. Where the opportunities for innovative or customized dual generation programming are ripe, we develop integrated services that address the needs of adult and child together. Where such opportunities are still nascent, we focus on utilizing case management systems to braid together otherwise discrete services that are designed for adults and children/youth.
Urban Strategies has developed an inherently dual-generation metric that applies the Developmental Assets Framework to measure of the level of socio-economic risk that a family faces. Known as the Family Risk Index, this metric is a composite measure of the risks associated with adults as well as their dependent children/youth. Calculated on the basis of a rigorous and in-depth family assessment, this Risk Index allows the family to be the unit of analysis in measuring our impact. For all of Urban Strategies, success is defined as a reduction in the overall Risk Index for a participating family.
Even as our role in school reform and public safety are still nascent, Urban Strategies has boldly taken on the role of intermediary for federal dollars that are invested in education and safety initiatives in Choice Neighborhoods. We have negotiated results-focused relationships with school districts and other systems partners, working closely them understand how to measure results as we learn from our efforts over time. Well-designed evaluations of our work in this regard can provide valuable information to community development practitioners about dual-generation approaches. In the long run, it could influence public sector entities, civic leaders, philanthropic organizations and researchers to formulate local policy or practice that successfully integrates dual generational principles and practices into family and community development programs.