This research brief shares findings from an evaluation of the Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners (MFS-IP), a program that funded services to support families in which one parent was incarcerated or recently released. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided up to $500,000 per year for five years to twelve grantees. OFA's family strengthening initiative required grantees to work with both members of a couple to support healthy marriage, and also permitted activities to support responsible parenting and economic stability. Data sources for the evaluation included annual interviews with grantee staff and other stakeholders, including program participants and partner agency staff, as well as administrative data submitted by grantees. Additionally, one year after the end of the five-year grants, interviews were conducted to explore grantee perspectives on the legacy and sustainability of their grant activities. Characteristics of MFS-IP programs with successful enrollment included agencies that brought a deep understanding of the needs of the target population, had dynamic program representatives, and had tangible side benefits to participating. Programs that succeeded in retaining participants brought realism about participants' competing priorities and worked to make their programs accessible, showed responsiveness to participants' expressed needs, and hired staff who could build rapport with participants. Challenges programs faced in building relationships between corrections and community agencies are discussed, as well as strategies that were used to address domestic violence. 10 references.
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Five Years Later: Final Implementation Lessons from the Evaluation of Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners.