Report credits the state for being a national leader in the Two-Generation approach to helping parents and children.


The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is receiving recognition for several years of work to radically change the way it serves thousands of low-income families.


A new case study prepared in partnership with the Ascend at the Aspen Institute honors the department for being among the nation’s leaders in crafting and implementing a 2 Generation, or 2Gen, approach.  Tennessee’s 2Gen programs aim to work with children and their parents simultaneously and put both on a path towards permanent economic security.


“Tennessee is a leading edge state in implementing smart 2Gen strategies to break the cycle of poverty for children and families.” said Anne Mosle, Vice President at the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “We are proud to release this case study in partnership with TDHS so that leaders in other states can learn from the work Tennessee is spearheading.”


TDHS launched its 2Gen efforts in 2014 focusing on early care and education, postsecondary and employment, economic assets, health and well-being, and social capital.


The department is now applying this 2Gen approach to all poverty-related, eligibility-based services. By September 2018, TDHS will be partnering with 2Gen programs across the state, including:

  • Memphis-based Agape, which encompasses over 100 collaborative partners in under resourced schools and communities;
  • East Tennessee State University and the Nurse Family Partnership that provides certified nurses to first time mothers in their homes; and
  • 11 Community Innovation partners who provide wraparound support throughout their respective communities.


“What we learned from 2Gen is that you have to focus on the whole family, not just the individual adult or child,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “This was not something the Department focused on before but it’s a critical part of our efforts today to build a thriving Tennessee.”



Roughly 16% of Tennesseans are living in poverty.  Of that group, nearly 22% are children.


Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at