gen plus 2020-02-06T23:22:27+00:00

Building a healthy Mississippi
through a multi-generational,
collaborative approach.

Many Generations. One Future.

Building a healthy Mississippi through a multi-generational, collaborative approach.


Based on the “Two Generations” method addressing family poverty, MDHS has been developing and implementing the gen+ approach over the past several years. The gen+ approach starts with MDHS participant/family assessments that result in individual and family referrals from County Economic Assistance Offices to other MDHS internal divisions, as well as external partners. Mississippi is the first state in the nation to implement a “Two Generations” approach state-wide to build whole family social skills assets and employment skills. The gen+ approach accomplishes this by assisting families in accessing education, social and workforce skills, and child development services by referrals.  The gen+ approach is completely aligned with all WIOA workforce development programs and is reaching out to other health and human services available across our state.


MDHS is working on building a healthy Mississippi through a multi-generational, collaborative approach.

  • Invest in children and families

  • Improve health and safety issues

  • Increase department capacity and efficiencies

  • Improve systems


Education, from early childhood through postsecondary, is a core component of two-generation approaches. There is a strong correlation between low levels of educational attainment and poverty. Only 10 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree are poor. Yet more than 30 percent of those with a high school diploma or less are poor. The poverty rate does not decrease until people have at least some education beyond high school. In addition, there is a strong link between maternal education and outcomes for children, particularly school readiness for kindergartners. There is also some evidence that parent engagement can further enhance positive outcomes.

Economic supports — made available with public resources, as well as nonprofit and private resources — provide important scaffold for parents as they pursue skill-building and education that lead to better jobs and longer-term financial stability. Economic supports include — but are not limited to — housing, transportation, financial education and asset-building, tax credits, child care subsidies, student financial aid, health insurance, and food assistance.

Social capital is a key success factor of the two-generation approach. Many years of research has shown that social capital manifests as peer support; contact with family, friends, and neighbors; participation in community and faith- based organizations; school and workplace contacts; leadership and empowerment programs; use of case managers or career coaches; social networks, such as cohort models and learning communities; and mental health services. Such support appears to be a powerful component in programs that help move families beyond poverty. Social capital builds on the strength and resilience of families, bolstering the aspirations parents have for their children and for themselves.

Physical health and mental health, a component of the two-generation approach, have a major impact on a family’s ability to thrive. Childhood trauma, for instance, has lasting health and social consequences. Similarly, economic supports, such as housing, and social capital, such as connections to one’s neighborhood and community, are important social determinants of health. The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, as well as delving further into brain science and the social determinants of health, offer opportunities for increasing the health and well-being of children and their parents.

Two-generation approaches can be found along a continuum. Whole-family approaches focus equally and intentionally on services and opportunities for the parent and the child. Child-parent approaches focus first or primarily on the child but are moving toward a two-generation approach and also include services and opportunities for the parent. Parent-child approaches focus first or primarily on the parent but are moving toward a two-generation approach and also include services and opportunities for children.

Andrea is a single mother with two children, working less than part-time, and going to school at night. She came into the Hinds County office in November of 2013. To continue with school and work she needed help with childcare. Andrea not only received SNAP and TANF but also worked through the TANF Work Program. Shortly after she obtained employment with MDHS as a clerk and later promoted to Clerk-Typist Sr.

“I am so grateful for the opportunities MDHS and the programs they offer have given me.”

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See Sherry’s Story

“Everybody can be better, if they put forth the effort to be better. If Mississippi didn’t have the SNAP program then I wouldn’t be saving lives.”

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