Our History


Chapter 1:

The Early Years


Jim Jackson began working with ‘high risk’ youth starting in the 1990’s. Jim’s honest, refreshing, effective approach to working with kids in crisis paved the way for additional work within the local county social services arena – often working with kids who had exhausted all other options. In 2002, Jim and his wife, Lynne Jackson, formed Cross-Generation, an organization dedicated to helping families build strength through intentional, strengths-based parenting. In 2005, Carver County began the process of implementing a new approach to child protection, Signs of Safety. The county called on Jim to partner in the endeavor, supporting and learning side-by-side with the county and its staff.


Chapter 2:

The Formative Years

Starting in 2005, Connected Families began its on-the-ground work with families in Carver County within the Signs of Safety approach. We also began hosting workshops, gatherings and training in the Signs of Safety – the beginning of a longstanding relationship with Dr. Andrew Turnell and Resolutions Consultancy. In addition to the Signs of Safety work with county social services, Connected Families was also providing coaching and parenting support to churches and families in the community. The organization began adding staff to support both aspects of the organization, in addition to some new counseling services. The additional staff, primarily licensed marriage and family therapists and social workers, began serving the broad base of Connected Family clients.


Chapter 3:

Continued Growth

Since 2002, Connected Families has helped tens of thousands of parents re-imagine their role as parents; and helped tens of thousands of social workers and the families they serve think differently about safety. Over time, the capabilities of Connected Families have become more specialized around one of the three service areas – parenting, counseling, and child safety. These specializations have allowed Connected Families to deepen its skills, broaden its services and reach more families. At the same time, these three distinct service areas have created the need to more clearly articulate the specific focus, competencies and clients within each service area. In that process, three specialized service organizations have emerged. And with that, starting in the fall of 2014, we’ve created three organization brands to help distinguish each of the services areas from one another.

  • The Connected Families brand represents our parenting resources and coaching
  • Connected Families Counseling represents our therapy and counseling services
  • SafeGenerations represents the services dedicated to consulting, coaching and strategic work for social services agencies and the families they serve


More reading: Our Experience in Signs of Safety Work