Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Research and Evaluation Newsletter - Issue 5

Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Research and Evaluation Newsletter
Issue 5 Special Issue
September 2019
The purpose of this newsletter is to connect with stakeholders, researchers, curriculum developers, practitioners, and service providers to share knowledge about Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) research and evaluation.

This newsletter will add to the sources of information that exist on HMRF programs, services, curricula, and practices by specifically focusing on research and evaluation conducted by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in conjunction with the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), both within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation began in 2011 as an effort to examine a set of Healthy Marriage (HM) and Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grantees funded by ACF's Office of Family Assistance (OFA). Recognizing that grantees' programs continue to grow and develop, the PACT evaluation aimed to provide foundational information to guide ongoing and future program design and evaluation efforts, and to build the evidence base for HMRF programming. The PACT evaluation has released a range of findings from its process studies, impact studies, and a range of sub-studies through numerous briefs and reports. This special issue highlights the most recent products developed through the PACT evaluation. For more information about PACT and earlier reports and briefs, CLICK HERE.
To get a quick 60 second synopsis of PACT findings CLICK HERE.

The Parents and Children Together (PACT) Evaluation contains multiple study components (a process/implementation study, a Responsible Fatherhood qualitative study, and an impact evaluation) and focuses on a subset of programs from the second round of Healthy Marriage (HM) and Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grants, awarded by the Office of Family Assistance in 2011.
The PACT RF Evaluation enrolled a total of 5,522 fathers from four grantee sites:
  • Connections to Success (Kansas City, MO) 
  • Fathers' Support Center (St. Louis, MO)
  • Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)
  • Urban Ventures (Minneapolis, MN)
The PACT HM Evaluation enrolled a total of 1,595 married and unmarried couples from two grantee sites:
  • El Paso Center for Children (El Paso, TX)
  • University Behavioral Associates (Bronx, NY)
  • Individuals were randomly assigned to either a program group or a control group. Program group members were offered program services; control group members were not offered those services but were able to receive other services available in the community. Members of both program and control groups were surveyed twice: before they were randomly assigned and 12 months later.

Supporting the Fatherhood Journey: Findings from the Parents and Children Together Evaluation (PACT)

Interested in learning about PACT RF findings in an interactive fashion and hearing from actual program participants? CLICK HERE to view our online report, which contains chapters on findings related to personal development, parenting and co-parenting, romantic relationships and marriage, economic stability, financial support of children, and fathers' responses to services. This online report uses videos, graphics, quotes, and text to make the findings come to life.  
PACT Online Report featured Raashad and other participants in the OFA Responsible Fatherhood Program: Visit disclaimer page  
The online report highlights how fathers valued program services related to personal development and felt a personal bond with the men in their groups and program staff.  
Martin reflects on the experience, and what it means to be a parent: Visit disclaimer page

The online report also highlights that after receiving program services, fathers believed the programs helped them become better parents and improve communication with their current and former partners.

Recent Reports from the PACT Evaluation

Wondering what the specific HM impact findings were for PACT? CLICK HERE to read a brief which presents the impacts of these programs about one year after study enrollment on:
  1. the status and quality of the couples' relationships,
  2. economic stability, and
  3. job and career advancement.
Key findings include that compared to services as usual, the HM programs in PACT
  • improved couples' relationship quality, including relationship commitment and support and affection, although they did not improve relationship happiness
  • helped couples avoid destructive conflict behaviors, although they did not improve use of constructive conflict behaviors
  • increased the likelihood that couples were married at the one-year follow-up
  • improved co-parenting, as measured by the degree to which couples reported they believed they worked well together in raising their child(ren)
  • did not affect men's earnings or their perceptions of economic improvement; improved women's self-reported earnings, but not earnings based on administrative data
Want a quick overview of the PACT RF impact findings? CLICK HERE to read a brief that presents the impacts of the four PACT RF programs on:
  1. fathers' parenting,
  2. relationships,
  3. economic stability, and
  4. well-being about one year after the fathers enrolled.
Compared with usual services available in the community, the RF programs in PACT:
  • improved fathers' nurturing behavior 
  • improved fathers' engagement in age-appropriate activities with children
  • did not affect fathers' in-person contact with their children or the financial support they provided
  • did not affect co-parenting
  • increased the length of time fathers were continuously employed, but did not affect earnings
  • did not affect measures of social-emotional well-being
Ever wonder what factors may or may not influence participation in RF programs? CLICK HERE to read a brief that used data from a process/implementation study, as well as an impact study, to explore factors associated with fathers' participation in RF programs. Some of the factors that were found to be associated with participation include: age, participation challenges, residential status of children, having a child support order, mental health, and romantic relationship status. Programmatic factors, such as using an integrated cohort model, offering complementary services in the same building or a nearby location, and emphasizing peer support, also influenced participation.

Modification to the Secondary Analyses of Strengthening Families Datasets Funding Opportunity Announcement

OPRE plans to award up to ten cooperative agreements to fund research to conduct secondary data analysis of archived data, specifically the Building Strong Families (BSF), Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM), and Parents and Children Together (PACT) datasets. The funding opportunity announcement was recently modified. CLICK HERE Visit disclaimer page to access the revised version. Please note that the due date for the letter of intent is now October 25, 2019 and the  due date for the application is now November 25, 2019.

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