Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS), 2015-2022

Research indicates that children and their parents fare better on a range of outcomes when living in stable, low-conflict, two-parent families. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) provides grants to fund healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs to strengthen and improve the quality of relationships by offering a range of services from relationship education for high school students to marriage and relationship skills building for adult couples.

In order to identify and evaluate strategies for improving the delivery and effectiveness of HMRE programs, ACF is conducting the Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) project. STREAMS is a large multi-site random assignment impact and process evaluation of HMRE programs serving adults and youth that is designed to answer multiple practice-relevant questions. STREAMS emphasizes program improvement and answering questions of particular policy relevance, with a focus on outcomes for specific adult and youth populations served by HMRE programs at several sites across the country. Each site examines distinct research questions, which include:

  • What is the effect of offering relationship skills education as part of a regular high school curriculum?
  • What is the effect of offering a shortened version of relationship skills education programming as part of a regular high school curriculum?
  • What is the effect of offering young adults workshops that integrate economic stability services and relationship skills education?
  • What is the effect of offering integrated relationship skills education and economic stability services to low-income couples who are raising children?
  • What is the effect of offering relationship skills education and other support services to low-income pregnant women and new mothers?
  • Can text messages informed by behavioral insight theory improve session attendance and workshop completion for couples?

Mathematica Policy Research was awarded the contract for this project, with a subcontract to Public Strategies

Points() of contact: Samantha Illangasekare and Kathleen McCoy.

This study has registered the following five impact evaluations on ClinicalTrials.gov:

Information collections related to this project have been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under OMB #0970-0481. Related materials are available at the STREAMS Information Collection page on RegInfo.gov Visit disclaimer page .

The most currently approved documents are accessible by clicking on the ICR Ref. No. with the most recent conclusion date. To access the information collections (E.g. interviews, surveys, protocols), click on View Information Collection (IC) List. Click on View Supporting Statement and Other Documents to access other supplementary documents.

Information collections related to this project have also been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under ACF’s Generic Clearances. Related materials are available at the following pages on RegInfo.gov:

Pre-testing of Evaluation Data Collection Activities (OMB #0970-0355)

Formative Data Collections for ACF Research (OMB #0970-0356)

Related Resources

The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a random assignment impact study and in-depth process study of five healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) grantees funded by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). To maximize its contributions to the evidence base and to inform future program and evaluation design, STREAMS is examining the full range of populations...

The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a random assignment impact study and in-depth process study of five Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) grantees funded by the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF), Office of Family Assistance (OFA). To maximize its contributions to the evidence base and to inform future program and evaluation design...

Although research shows adult participants in HMRE programs enjoy participating and find them worthwhile, programs often face challenges recruiting participants and reaching enrollment targets. Programs conducting evaluations that require random assignment and data collection can face additional challenges (for example, increasing recruitment to account for random assignment of some applicants to a comparison group). Recruitment challenges are not unique to HMRE programs...

The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a random assignment impact study and in-depth process study of five Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) grantees funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance (OFA). To maximize its contributions to the evidence base and to inform future program and evaluation design, STREAMS is examining the full range of populations served by HMRE programs, including adult individuals, adult couples...

The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a random assignment impact study and in-depth process study of five Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) grantees funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance (OFA). To maximize its contributions to the evidence base and to inform future program and evaluation design, STREAMS is...

Since the mid-2000s, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has supported grants to provide healthy marriage...

Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) practitioners need more research and information on HMRE programs for youth. From 2011 to 2015, about half the participants served by HMRE grants from the Office of Family Assistance were under age 18. However, most research on HMRE programming...

Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) practitioners are increasingly interested in integrating relationship education workshops with economic stability services. In its most recent round of federal grant funding for HMRE services, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) emphasized programs that offer both HMRE and economic stability services such as job and career advancement and financial literacy activities. Grantee staff must decide how to deliver services in each of these areas—either as separate workshops, integrated workshops, or a mix of the two.

The federal government has had a long-standing commitment to supporting healthy relationships and stable families. In the mid-1990s, Congress created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, which had the formation and maintenance of two-parent families as one of its core purposes. TANF provided...

This fact sheet provides an overview of the Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation.

The evaluation will include detailed process and impact studies of healthy marriage and relationship education programs for youth and adults funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance.

Those programs include...