Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI): A Process Evaluation. Implementation in Agencies with a Statewide Reach


The principle of building on the infrastructure and interest of agencies to deliver  services throughout the state still guides the OMI.  In addition to cultivating a network of volunteer providers, the initiative sought out and worked with a wide range of government institutions and private organizations, particularly those with a statewide reach.  OMI leadership reasoned that engaging such agencies would build on existing infrastructure, help develop credibility and support for the initiatives efforts, increase the likelihood of long-term implementation and sustainability, and in many cases provide access to low-income clients who otherwise might be difficult to reach.

Working with agencies and public institutions has presented challenges distinct from those encountered in the community volunteer sector, and has required different strategies and skills for addressing them.  Issues related to organizational culture, deeply held beliefs by staff about how best to serve families, bureaucracy, contractual tensions, and departures of key supporters have all been encountered.  However, the OMI has used, and continues to use, these experiences to understand the issues and refine its methods, and has achieved sustained success at several institutions.

This chapter describes the OMIs successes and challenges in working with eight service-delivery systems in public agencies and nonprofit organizations, and concludes with a summary of the lessons learned. 

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