Family and child well-being is vital to the health of America's neighborhoods and communities. Recognizing this fact when reauthorizing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in 2005, Congress appropriated $150 million to support demonstration programs in the areas of healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood. Managed by the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), these initiatives were designed to have a broad reach, including marriage and relationship education services for married and engaged couples. Of the 116 healthy marriage grants funded under this initiative, 21 focused on marriage enhancement and skills training for married couples. These grantees primarily, though not exclusively, worked with low-income couples who, research shows, are less likely to sustain marriages and reap the benefits that marriage typically confers. This report provides a detailed snapshot of these grantees, the clients they served from 2006 through 2011, and the structure, curriculum, and characteristics of their programs. Across these topic areas, the report also examines the challenges encountered by grantees and the policies designed to overcome them. Where possible, the report also describes evaluation strategies and outcomes in critical areas to better assess the effect of these programs on individuals and families. Given the importance of stable families for economic success and child well-being, the work of these grantees can provide important insights for practitioners, researchers, and government agencies. (Author abstract modified)
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Building Healthy Relationships: The Work of Local Grantees in Supporting Low-Income Married Couples.