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An important report published by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance sheds light on the impact of “marriage penalties” in means-tested programs. 

The purpose of this information memorandum (IM) is to strongly encourage all human service agencies including child welfare agencies, courts, offices of child support enforcement, offices of public assistance, offices of child care, Head Start programs and family and youth services programs to work together across governments to jointly create and maintain an environment that prioritizes father engagement as a critical factor in strengthening families and adopt approaches to enhance paternal involvement in all family support and child welfare related programs.

The HMRF initiative is a $150 million Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) discretionary grant program originally authorized under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and reauthorized under the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. These programs play a key role in helping OFA achieve its goals to foster economically secure households and communities for the well-being and long-term success of children and families. On September 30, 2015, OFA announced grant awards to 91 organizations in 27 states and one territory to provide activities to promote healthy marriage and relationship education, responsible fatherhood, and reentry services for currently or formerly incarcerated fathers under three funding opportunities. The Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grant Program (HMRE), New Pathways for Fathers and Families (New Pathways), and Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry and Mobility (ReFORM) are part of HHS’ community-based efforts to promote strong, healthy family formation and maintenance, responsible fatherhood and parenting, and reentry opportunities for fathers returning from incarceration.

The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse Visit disclaimer page is an Office of Family Assistance (OFA) funded national resource for fathers, practitioners, programs/Federal grantees, states, and the public at-large who are serving or interested in supporting strong fathers and families.

The Healthy Marriage Initiative (HMI) - To help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services, on a voluntary basis, where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.