Evaluating the Implementation of Programs to Strengthen Families with Children Born Out-of-Wedlock, 2002-2004

Project Overview

This project involved the identification and case study of selected programs working with new, unwed parents to provide those interested with the knowledge and skills necessary to enter into and sustain healthy relationships and marriages. The project included the provision of technical assistance regarding the design programs and approaches to address implementation challenges.

The major research questions addressed by this study are: (1) What are the issues and challenges in designing, implementing and operating programs to build strong families, to increase permanence and healthy marriage, and to improve child well being and family functioning among unwed parents? (2) What mix of services and policies are included in programs developed with these aims? (3) What staff are involved in various aspects of the program (e.g., recruitment, service delivery, follow-up)? (4) What are the staffing patterns within the programs? (5) Who is eligible for program services, how are they identified and recruited, what are their characteristics, and what are participation levels? 6) What agencies are involved, what are their roles, and what are the implications for program design, implementation, and operation?

Researchers conducted assessments and provided technical assistance to a number of State and local officials. The project report describes the experiences of program officials and participants and present lessons from those experiences for others interested in designing and operating similar programs.

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