This brief presents detailed information on recipients of the Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners (MFS-IP): the context of their operations, the populations that they serve, and their program models. The data are based on phone conversations, site visit interviews with key program staff, and document review, and they reflect the status of the currently funded programs as of August 2008 just before the end of the second year of funding.
The MFS-IP programs are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) initiative to support healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood. Grantees provide marriage-strengthening education and other services, such as in-prison visitation support, parenting classes, and employment assistance to promote the economic stability of the family. No one program model is required for MFS-IP grantees, and the sites vary widely in terms of program components and service delivery approach.
The National Evaluation of the MFS-IP programs is a joint initiative of ACF's Office of Family Assistance (OFA) and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). Conducted by RTI International, the evaluation will describe program implementation among all sites and assess impact in selected sites. Characteristics including program design, target population, and interagency collaboration are being documented in detail, because very little is known about the delivery and effectiveness of marriage- and family-strengthening programs for populations involved with the criminal justice system.