Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission

Overview of Key Improvements

Background (in 2016)…

  • In Utah, 39,376 adults and 59,579 children experienced intergenerational poverty
  • 26 percent of adults receiving public assistance experienced intergenerational poverty
  • 29 percent of Utah children were at risk of remaining in poverty as adults

Overall Multi-Agency Coordination

State agencies have begun collaboration to improve the coordination of case management services to ensure family needs are met. The agencies worked on executing a data sharing agreement to share individual case information across multiple programs. The next steps are to receive approval from families to share individual data across systems to better connect to resources. (Department of Workforce Services / Department of Health / Department of Human Services)

Areas of Child Well-Being

Utah has identified four focus areas of child well-being to address intergenerational poverty: early childhood development, education, family economic stability and health. Below are key improvements in each area that have helped families experiencing intergenerational poverty.

Early Childhood Development

  • Legislature funded preschool for 4-year olds experiencing IGP. 190 IGP children received scholarships to attend high-quality preschool in SY 2017-2018.
  • 172 preschool programs were certified as high-quality in 2017, an increase from 90 in 2016.
  • Workforce Services and Utah State Board of Education have supported outreach to 8.900 families with 4 year olds experiencing intergenerational poverty or living below 200 percent of federal poverty level to enroll in the UPSTART, online preschool program. Among those who completed training to begin using UPSTART, 22 percent were IGP and 66 percent had a Workforce Services case number.


  • Graduation rates improved to 63 percent in 2016 for children at risk of remaining in poverty, compared to 50 percent in 2013.
  • Legislature funded access for students experiencing intergenerational poverty to high-quality afterschool programs. Since the program started in the SY 2014-15, gains have been made in literacy scores for participating children.
  • 1,200 students who are low-income or IGP have access to extended day kindergarten that wouldn't have otherwise in 2017 through a grant from Utah State Board of Board of Education.
  • 1,233 assessments were completed on IGP teenagers (16-18 years old) in 2017 through Workforce Services’ YES program. In addition, 519 IGP individuals were referred to Workforce Services’ Workforce Development Division and 248 to the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation.


  • Utilizing the IGP data to identify the schools with the highest rates of students experiencing IGP, Workforce Services and Human Services partnered to prioritize those schools for the School Based Behavioral Health Program. As a result, 37 school districts, 313 schools and five charter schools have school-based behavioral health specialists from Human Services, which is an increase from 29 school districts and 256 schools.
  • In response to the role trauma and adverse childhood experiences play in intergenerational poverty, the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission established “Resilient Utah,” a committee researching on trauma-informed care and practice. This group will be connected to a new commission that was formed during the 2018 Legislative Session.
  • 2,401 caseworkers, community providers and state employees from multiple state agencies received trauma-informed care to better help IGP families in those situations.

Family Economic Stability

  • Workforce Services has restructured its case management model to be family focused to ensure outcomes for parents and their children are achieved when receiving assistance through the department.
  • Workforce Services is working with two counties, Washington and Utah, to develop a job skills training program for youth experiencing intergenerational poverty. Through this effort, Utah County has engaged with 58 at-risk youth at Landmark alternative high school and had 30 students eligible and enrolled in the WIOA Youth Program. Also at Independence alternative high school, 19 students are engaged and submitted 9 applications for the WIOA youth
  • 22 single mothers completed Workforce Services’ Invest In You Too program, which teaches medical manufacturing skills. The program has a 73 percent employment rate upon completion. 14 of the single mothers were IGP, while the other participants had children who were at risk of entering intergenerational poverty.
  • The average annual wage for adults in intergenerational poverty increased between 2013 and 2016 from $10,701 to $12,621.

Overall County Coordination

  • Workforce Services is partnering with several counties to reduce intergenerational poverty. This includes Workforce Services assisting counties in recruiting and identifying families experiencing intergenerational poverty to connect them to programs and resources available in counties designed to reduce intergenerational poverty.