SECTION 1. (a) There shall be a special commission entitled the Special Commission on Whole Family Approaches to study and make recommendations concerning the implementation of whole family systems in the commonwealth, as defined by focusing on creating opportunities for and addressing needs of both vulnerable parents and children together.
(b) For the purposes of this commission, a “Whole Family Approach” shall mean an anti-poverty strategy aimed at reducing chronic, multi-generational family poverty by getting better outcomes for the child, parents, and community simultaneously. The commission shall: (1) measure and account for outcomes for both children and their parents; (2) engage and listen to the voice of families; (3) foster innovation and evidence together, (4) align and link systems and funding streams, (5) prioritize intentional implementation, and (6) ensure equity.
(c) The commission shall consist of the following: the co-chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities or a designee who shall serve as co-chairs; the co-chairs of the joint committee on education or designee; the commissioner of early education and care or a designee; the commissioner of elementary and secondary education or a designee; commissioner of the department of higher education or a designee; commissioner of the department of transitional assistance; secretary of labor and workforce development or a designee; secretary of housing and economic development or designee; 6 persons to be appointed by the commission co-chairs, 3 of whom shall be representatives of community-based organizations that have experience working with youth and families, 2 of whom shall be representatives of research, educational, and philanthropic institutions specializing in education including early childhood education, and 1 of whom shall be a representative of an organization with interest in two-generation approaches.
(d) The commission shall: (1) solicit information and input from service providers, families, educational institutions, and any other parties or entities the commission deems appropriate; review and identify best practices learned from similar efforts in other states and codify the core components of a model whole family approach for parents and their children; (2) establish a whole family school/employment readiness plan to promote long-term learning and economic success for low-income families by addressing intergenerational barriers to school readiness and workforce readiness with intensified workforce training and targeted education, coupled with related support services; (3) study and make recommendations for inter-agency resources and services and to best maximize existing state resources available to fund an expansion of whole family approaches for parents and their children; (4) develop recommendations to measure and evaluate progress for both children and their parents through specified dual generation approaches that result in improved outcomes; (5) identify and make recommendations for a new and sustainable funding source for whole family approaches; and (6) establish a definition for “Whole Family Approach” for the commonwealth.
(e) Members of the commission shall be appointed and the commission shall commence its work within 60 days of the effective date of this act. The commission shall report the results of its study, together with any draft legislation necessary to implement whole family approaches in the commonwealth by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on education and the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities, not later than one year after the members of the commission are appointed.
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