Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Research and Evaluation Newsletter

Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Research and Evaluation Newsletter

October 5, 2020   |   Volume 1   |   No. 1   |   Special Edition


We are excited to share the inaugural issue of the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Research and Evaluation Newsletter with you! The purpose of this newsletter is to connect with stakeholders, researchers, curriculum developers, practitioners, and service providers and share Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Research and Evaluation Newsletter the work we are doing in the area of Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood services. This newsletter will add to the sources of information that exist on the programs, services, curricula, and practices for Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) by specifically focusing on the research and evaluation activities sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Within ACF, the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) conducts rigorous research and evaluation projects to study ACF programs and the populations they serve. You can read more about ACF's common framework for research and evaluation here . In conjunction with the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), which administers the HMRF grant program, OPRE has conducted rigorous studies and evaluations of HMRF programs for over a decade in order to better understand the populations these programs serve, the range of services available to participants, and the effectiveness of specific interventions. In this issue of the newsletter, we provide an overview of the research portfolio strategy we use to address policy and practice-relevant research questions, present short summaries of some of our current HMRF projects, and spotlight the Building Bridges and Bonds (B3) project. Future issues will provide quarterly updates on new research findings, updates from existing projects, program spotlights, and other features from the HMRF research portfolio . We look forward to continuing to engage with you around HMRF research, evaluation, and practice.

Sincerely, Maria Woolverton Director, Division of Family Strengthening, OPRE

Parents and Children Together (PaCT)

Parents and Children Together (PACT) logo

The Parents and Children Together Evaluation (PACT) evaluation, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, has four primary study components: 1) a random assignment impact study of a subset of two Healthy Marriage (HM) and four Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grantees; 2) a process study two HM and four RF grantees; 3) a qualitative study of interviews with a subset of RF program participants; and 4) a study of a subset of four Hispanic RF grantees. Recognizing that both HM and RF programs are continuing to grow and develop, the PACT evaluation is intended to provide foundational information that can be used to guide ongoing and future program design and evaluation efforts, and to serve as an initial building block in the evidence base for programming in this area.

Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Grants

The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) competitively awards Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) grants to states, local governments, and community based organizations (both for profit and not-for-profit). The current cohort of HMRF grants was awarded in September 2015 and includes 45 Healthy Marriage grantees, as well as the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families , 39 Responsible Fatherhood grantees, and 5 Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry and Mobility (ReFORM) grantees, who focus on services for the reentering population. For more information on the HMRF grants, please visit the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood website.

Highlights From Ongoing OPRE HMRF Projects

Ex-Prisoner Reentry Strategies

The Ex-Prisoner Reentry Strategies Study, conducted by the Urban Institute, documented the implementation of selected reentry programs initially funded in FY 2011 under the RF grant program, the experiences of staff and participants, and lessons useful to others in the field. Additional work involved evaluation design recommendations and a focus on measures appropriate for use in evaluations of programs with similar goals and objectives as these grant programs. Early implementation findings showed that grantees served fathers before, during, and after incarceration. A wide range of pre-release and post-release activities were conducted by grantees including parenting and relationship classes, financial literacy training, domestic violence screening and services, support groups, mentoring, child-parent visits, and family activity days. Additionally, grantees documented relationships with a multitude of partner organizations, including local criminal justice organizations, human services programs, community based organizations, and faith-based organizations. Publications from the project include a series of briefs on the responsible parenting, healthy marriage, and economic stability components of Responsible Fatherhood programs and a final report on implementation findings.

The OPRE Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Research Portfolio Strategy

OPRE's strategy for HMRF research and evaluation centers on three types of activities that are intended to produce information to improve services for women, men, couples, youth, and families: foundational activities, program evaluation and improvement projects, and research/evaluation capacity building initiatives . Foundational activities: These activities focus on describing the populations that are served and the programs that serve them, as well as identifying appropriate evaluation approaches . Program evaluation and improvement projects: These activities seek to identify and further develop innovative approaches, as well as to identify effective approaches . Research/evaluation capacity building initiatives: These activities focus on translating, disseminating, and assisting the field in using and applying research findings, stimulating and supporting new research in the field, and facilitating research networks

OPRE Healthy Marriage Research Strategy