Year One of the Rural IMPACT Project
Agency officials, funders, policymakers and service providers gathered at a White House symposium on November 17 to discuss early implementation lessons and future plans for Rural IMPACT — a public-private effort to reduce child poverty in rural and tribal communities.
With support from multiple agencies and private foundations including Casey, the initiative provides technical assistance and a peer learning network to help 10 pilot sites align housing, education, nutrition and employment services to better support parents and children.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a new qualitative study during the convening, Implementation of the Federal Rural IMPACT Demonstration, which highlights activities, accomplishments and challenges from the first year, as well as recommendations for incorporating two-generation strategies in federal, state and local policy.
During the event, T’Pring Westbrook, who co-leads the Foundation’s two-generation research and evaluation efforts, previewed a new video that provides a snapshot of Rural IMPACT sites and families. She emphasized Casey’s commitment to the “whole-family approach” and shared excitement about the momentum the project is gaining.
Some of the key recommendations highlighted in the report include:
- engaging and maintaining strong collaborative partnerships with local, state and regional entities — as well as families and other stakeholders;
- tailoring technical assistance to specific site circumstances; and
- hosting peer-to-peer learning opportunities provided through web meetings and in-person meetings to share information and build networks.
While all 10 sites made substantial progress in their first year, they also identified barriers to change, including the limited funds for infrastructure investments to co-locate programs and services and the long distances, geographic isolation and lack of public transportation in rural communities that make service delivery and coordination more difficult.
In the coming months, sites will continue receiving technical assistance and support from Rural IMPACT to build on the strategies already in place from year one.