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Simulating effects of two-generation programs shows modest long-term positive impacts

Researchers at Child Trends used a new simulation tool to better understand the longterm effects of two-generation programming on young children. Simulations were
conducted with data from a national sample of families (n = 400,040) with incomes under 200 percent of the poverty line. The tool allowed researchers to manipulate
early childhood conditions by adjusting parents’ education, income, mental health, and parenting skills with the same intensity as effects documented in evaluations of two-gen
programs. A second set of simulations allowed researchers to examine an “aspirational” set of effects that might emerge from the highest-quality two-gen
programming. Using the “aspirational” model, the team found modest positive impacts in childhood and into adulthood. Some effects faded over time, but almost all effects
were strongest for Black children. Although the aspirational model’s effects do not mirror typical two-gen program impacts, the authors suggest the simulation reveals the
potential for new two-gen approaches to change trajectories and close racial gaps.