In the late 1990s the State of Oklahoma, recognizing the economic and social consequences of its high rates of divorce and non-marital childbearing, undertook an innovative strategy to strengthen families. At the direction of the Governor, the state initiated an effort to reduce divorce and decrease non-marital childbearing. This pioneering effort became the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI), now the nation's longest running and most comprehensive set of programs to strengthen marriage. This process evaluation is intended to provide information about the OMI model and implementation experiences for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers. This report presents a comprehensive look at the key findings from MPR's process evaluation. Chapter I describes the priorities and research questions of the study and provides an overview of the evaluation's methodological approach. Chapter II describes the development and evolution of the initiative and presents a framework for understanding the initiative's current implementation approach. Chapter III highlights one of the OMI's key deployment strategies -- delivery of workshops through a network of trained volunteers in communities throughout the state. Chapter IV describes how the OMI partners with an array of public and private institutions to offer marriage education services to their clients. Chapter V discusses the extent of implementation by looking at the availability and provision of services throughout the state, the extent of workshop leader training, and the characteristics of individuals who choose to participate in the workshops. The report concludes, in Chapter VI, by highlighting the main study findings and several overarching lessons and implications arising from the OMI experience. (Author abstract modified)
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The Oklahoma Marriage Initiative: A Process Evaluation. Final Report.