New Reports Show Positive Program Impacts On Healthy Marriage, Responsible Fatherhood

Topics:

Families

New research shows that healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood programs administered by HHS’ Administration for Children and Families’ have positive impacts.

The impact findings have been published from the Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation, a multi-component study of federal healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood programs. In these programs, PACT found:

  • Couples that received services were more committed, had increased levels of supportiveness and affection, had improved co-parenting relationship, and were more likely to be married at the one-year follow-up, compared to couples not offered the programs.
  • Fathers who received services were more nurturing toward their children, engaged in more age-appropriate activities with their children, and were more steadily employed at the one-year follow-up, compared to fathers not offered the programs.

Recognizing the potential benefits of healthy marriages and relationships and parental involvement for low-income families, Congress has funded three rounds of healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood competitive grants since 2006, run by the Office of Family Assistance within HHS’s Administration for Children and Families.

The Administration for Children and Families views research and evaluation as learning opportunities, and actively integrates learning opportunities into healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood programming, so that program design and implementation will continue to evolve and improve. PACT serves as a foundation and building block in the evidence base. Other components of the PACT evaluation, and subsequent Administration for Children and Families’ studies, will continue to expand our understanding of grantee program operations, populations served, and program effectiveness. The Office of Family Assistance funds and the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation carries out these research and evaluation projects. Mathematica Policy Research conducted the PACT evaluation.

Please see the full reports here (Parents and Children Together: Effects of Two Healthy Marriage Programs for Low-Income Couples; Parents and Children Together: Effects of Four Responsible Fatherhood Programs for Low-Income Fathers) for more detail and discussion on the findings.

Quick Facts

  • Nearly 1,600 couples in two healthy marriage programs, and over 5,500 fathers in four fatherhood programs, were assigned to either a program or a control group.
  • Studies have shown that growing up with two parents in a stable, low-conflict family environment can improve the lives of children in a broad range of areas, from education and employment to marriage and childbearing.
  • Additionally, if couples break up, father involvement is still critical: children whose fathers support them emotionally and financially typically fare better than those without that support.

Quotes

These are exciting findings because they show federally-funded interventions can have a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives.
HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Steven Wagner
By supporting healthy marriage and father’s engagement, we can promote self-sufficiency and reduce dependence on federal assistance programs.
HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Steven Wagner
Last Reviewed: June 14, 2018
Back to Top