Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI): Using Research to Guide the Development of an Evolving Statewide Initiative. Experimental Evaluations of Programs for Expectant Couples


The OMI is part of a demonstration program in two national multi-site evaluations funded by the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As such, it is helping to generate estimates of the impact of marriage education on a targeted group of unmarried and married couples involved in controlled experimental studies.

  • Unmarried Couples: Building Strong Families.  Through its Family Expectations program, Oklahoma is one of seven states participating in the Building Strong Families demonstration and evaluation, which is being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research (MPR). The demonstration enrolls low-income, unmarried couples who are currently expecting a child or have a newborn up to three months old. Eligible couples are randomly assigned to the program or to a control group, and MPR conducts follow-up interviews with both parents in both groups at 15 months after random assignment and again when their child is three years old. Outcomes of the program and control groups will be compared to assess program impacts on the status and quality of the couple relationship, parental well-being and co-parenting, and family and child outcomes.
  • Married Couples: Strengthening Healthy Marriage.  Also through its Family Expectations program, Oklahoma is a site for the Supporting Healthy Marriage national demonstration and evaluation, led by MDRC. This demonstration targets economically disadvantaged married couples and their children. Like Building Strong Families, the evaluation employs an experimental design using random assignment to a program or control group. Plans call for follow-up assessments at 12, 36, and 60 months after random assignment. The study will assess the impact of the intervention on relationship processes, marital stability and quality, attitudes toward marriage, child well-being and development, and economic outcomes.

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