A Whole Family Approach to Jobs Project


Initiative Summary

family of three on walkA Whole Family Approach to Jobs: Helping Parents Work and Children Thrive is a partnership between NCSL and the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, with primary funding provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The initiative is designed to help participating state leaders develop program, policy and system solutions that support parents in achieving greater employment gains and economic stability.

In recent years, programs and policymakers increasingly have focused on systems that work with the whole family. This new approach recognizes the research documenting the effect of parents’ education, economic stability and overall health on a child’s trajectory, and similarly the effect of children’s health and education on parent’s success.

The project brings together public and private sector stakeholders across workforce development, human services and education to identify policy opportunities, lessons learned and challenges faced by states seeking to implement whole-family approaches to economic opportunity that benefit low-income parents. Collaborative teams of multisector stakeholders are working together with support from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and in collaboration with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Region 1. The initiative also bridges to ACF Region 4 to encourage significant peer learning across states and regions.

The goals of the initiative are:

  • To identify program and policy alignment opportunities at the local, state and federal level that will improve employment equity and economic stability for low-income parents and that will move toward undoing intergenerational poverty for families.
  • To support state-driven policies and systems alignment that improves access to and success in education, training and employment for parents. 
  • To develop a regional learning community focused on whole-family approaches to employment equity that is adaptable to other regions.

Initiative Resources