The OMI is a complex, multifaceted, and ever-evolving initiative. It seeks to involve every societal sector and institution, from high schools to welfare agencies, and relies on a mix of volunteers, public and private agency staff, and paid employees to carry out its services. It involves many partners, from curriculum developers to researchers to policymakers. It grows and changes as lessons are learned, opportunities arise, and priorities shift. It aims to change both the attitudes and the behavior of individuals, organizations, and communities. Although the OMI clearly focuses on building a ready supply of marriage support services throughout the state, it also works to promote awareness of the availability of services, build sustainable capacity, and promote policies that improve supports for marital relationships.
From these many layers of activity, ASPE sought to obtain a general picture of the initiatives goals, activities, and achievements to date, as well as learn how it initially developed and has evolved over time. The study focuses on OMI experiences in selected sectors, to gain a broad and in-depth understanding of the successes and challenges encountered by the OMI that would yield useful implications, lessons, and insights. The study addresses eight questions:
- How did the Oklahoma context shape the philosophy, strategy, and organization at the start of the OMI and in ongoing course adjustments?
- How did the OMI develop its vision and build broad support for focusing on marriage?
- What is the overarching OMI philosophy, and how is it reflected in overall strategy, implementation decisions and methods, and adjustments over time?
- What part has been played by research and information in the OMIs implementation?
- What are the reasons for and implications of focusing on marriage education as a vehicle for change, and of choosing a single curriculum as the foundation for the OMI?
- What goals for changing systems and culture does the OMI address?
- What responses has the OMI elicited in the form of participation in the workshops that constitute its main service delivery activity?
- What have been the major accomplishments, benefits, and challenges of implementing the OMI through both volunteer-based and institutional avenues?