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  • Individual Author: Moore, Quinn ; Avellar, Sarah; Covington, Reginald; Wu, April; Patnaik, Ankita
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    Research shows that parents and children tend to fare better on a range of outcomes when they live in low-conflict, two-parent families. Recognizing the potential benefits of healthy relationships for low-income families, Congress has funded three rounds of grants for Healthy Marriage (HM) programs since 2006. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA), in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards and oversees the grants, which aim to promote the well-being and long-term success of children and families by fostering parents’ relationship stability and economic well-being. To learn more about the effectiveness of HM programs, OFA funded, and ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation oversaw, a contract with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the multicomponent Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation. This evaluation included a large-scale, random assignment examination of two federally funded HM programs serving low-income couples that received grants in 2011. This brief presents the impacts of...

    Research shows that parents and children tend to fare better on a range of outcomes when they live in low-conflict, two-parent families. Recognizing the potential benefits of healthy relationships for low-income families, Congress has funded three rounds of grants for Healthy Marriage (HM) programs since 2006. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA), in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards and oversees the grants, which aim to promote the well-being and long-term success of children and families by fostering parents’ relationship stability and economic well-being. To learn more about the effectiveness of HM programs, OFA funded, and ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation oversaw, a contract with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the multicomponent Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation. This evaluation included a large-scale, random assignment examination of two federally funded HM programs serving low-income couples that received grants in 2011. This brief presents the impacts of these programs about one year after study enrollment on:

    1. the status and quality of the couples’ relationships
    2. the co-parenting relationships
    3. job and career advancement

    (Excerpt from introduction) 

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; Goesling, Brian; Paulsell, Diane
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    The federal government has had a long-standing commitment to supporting healthy relationships and stable families. In the mid-1990s, Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, which had the formation and maintenance of two-parent families as one of its core purposes. TANF provided states with the funding and flexibility to support activities to promote healthy marriage. Beginning in the mid-2000s, the federal government began providing additional funding specifically to support healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) services. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees these funds and distributes them through a set of competitive multi-year grants to organizations nationwide. OFA made the most recent round of HMRE grant awards in September 2015. These grants support HMRE services for a mix of populations, including youth in high school, individual adults, and adult couples. (Author abstract) 

    The federal government has had a long-standing commitment to supporting healthy relationships and stable families. In the mid-1990s, Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, which had the formation and maintenance of two-parent families as one of its core purposes. TANF provided states with the funding and flexibility to support activities to promote healthy marriage. Beginning in the mid-2000s, the federal government began providing additional funding specifically to support healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) services. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees these funds and distributes them through a set of competitive multi-year grants to organizations nationwide. OFA made the most recent round of HMRE grant awards in September 2015. These grants support HMRE services for a mix of populations, including youth in high school, individual adults, and adult couples. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Friend, Daniel; Paulsell, Diane
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Introduction

    Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) practitioners are increasingly interested in integrating relationship education workshops with economic stability services. In its most recent round of federal grant funding for HMRE services, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) emphasized programs that offer both HMRE and economic stability services such as job and career advancement and financial literacy activities. Grantee staff must decide how to deliver services in each of these areas—either as separate workshops, integrated workshops, or a mix of the two.

    Purpose

    The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a five-site, random assignment evaluation of HMRE programs funded by OFA, with evaluation sites selected from the current round of HMRE grantees. Two of the grantees participating in STREAMS operate programs that integrate HMRE and economic stability services. The STREAMS technical assistance team worked closely with both grantees to help refine and...

    Introduction

    Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) practitioners are increasingly interested in integrating relationship education workshops with economic stability services. In its most recent round of federal grant funding for HMRE services, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) emphasized programs that offer both HMRE and economic stability services such as job and career advancement and financial literacy activities. Grantee staff must decide how to deliver services in each of these areas—either as separate workshops, integrated workshops, or a mix of the two.

    Purpose

    The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a five-site, random assignment evaluation of HMRE programs funded by OFA, with evaluation sites selected from the current round of HMRE grantees. Two of the grantees participating in STREAMS operate programs that integrate HMRE and economic stability services. The STREAMS technical assistance team worked closely with both grantees to help refine and strengthen their original program designs by drawing on findings from prior research. This brief describes how the grantees are integrating HMRE and economic stability services, with the goal of increasing participants’ exposure to both types of services.

    Key Findings and Highlights

    To integrate HMRE and economic stability services, the two grantees:

    • Used recruiting strategies to identify potential participants interested in both types of services
    • Adapted curricula to integrate HMRE and economic stability topics
    • Connected participants to one-on-one job and career advancement services

    Methods

    Integration strategies described in the brief are based on information gathered by the STREAMS technical assistance team during site visits and regular phone meetings with the grantees. Future reports from the STREAMS impact and process studies will describe how well these strategies worked in practice, yielding information that can be used to further refine the strategies to improve the delivery and effectiveness of HMRE programming. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zaveri, Heather; Baumgartner, Scott
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    The family environment in which children are raised can affect their later decisions in every area of life, from education and employment to marriage and childbearing (McLanahan and Sandefur 1994; Wolfinger 2003; Wolfinger et al. 2003; Wu and Martinson 1993). Research confirms that growing up with two parents in a stable, low conflict, healthy marriage can lead to favorable outcomes for children (Amato 2001; McLanahan and Sandefur 1994). Creating that environment is particularly difficult for low-income couples, however, because financial difficulties may put them at high risk for conflict and, ultimately, relationship dissolution (Bramlett and Mosher 2002; Conger et al. 2010). The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is currently sponsoring several evaluation efforts that will expand understanding of what works in programming that promotes healthy relationships and marriage. One effort, the Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation, is examining a set of...

    The family environment in which children are raised can affect their later decisions in every area of life, from education and employment to marriage and childbearing (McLanahan and Sandefur 1994; Wolfinger 2003; Wolfinger et al. 2003; Wu and Martinson 1993). Research confirms that growing up with two parents in a stable, low conflict, healthy marriage can lead to favorable outcomes for children (Amato 2001; McLanahan and Sandefur 1994). Creating that environment is particularly difficult for low-income couples, however, because financial difficulties may put them at high risk for conflict and, ultimately, relationship dissolution (Bramlett and Mosher 2002; Conger et al. 2010). The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is currently sponsoring several evaluation efforts that will expand understanding of what works in programming that promotes healthy relationships and marriage. One effort, the Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation, is examining a set of Healthy Marriage (HM) grantees funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance (OFA).1 Recognizing that grantees’ programs are still growing and developing, PACT is intended to provide a building block in the evidence base to guide ongoing and future program design and evaluation. PACT approaches research questions from several angles to tell a holistic story about the programs and participants, including impact (using a rigorous random assignment design) and process components. Ultimately, PACT’s results will provide information about who enrolls in voluntary services, the design and operation of these programs, and how the programs affect the families who enroll. This report presents findings from the process study of the two HM grantees participating in the PACT evaluation, including a description of grantees’ service delivery approaches and findings on enrollment and program participation. The remainder of this chapter describes the research and policy context for HM programs, discusses PACT’s evaluation framework, and introduces the two HM programs. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zaveri, Heather; Dion, Robin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    This brief provides a general overview of the two Healthy Marriage (HM) grantees involved in the Parents and Children Together Evaluation (PACT), provides participation rates in services, and documents how the two grantees integrated job and career advancement services for parenting couples into their programs. This brief uses data obtained through staff interviews and program observations during site visits; ongoing interactions with program leadership; and data from a management information system that programs use to record data on couples’ receipt of services. (author abstract)

    This brief provides a general overview of the two Healthy Marriage (HM) grantees involved in the Parents and Children Together Evaluation (PACT), provides participation rates in services, and documents how the two grantees integrated job and career advancement services for parenting couples into their programs. This brief uses data obtained through staff interviews and program observations during site visits; ongoing interactions with program leadership; and data from a management information system that programs use to record data on couples’ receipt of services. (author abstract)

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