As the initiatives operations have unfolded, other data collection activities have been carried out to inform the development and expansion of OMI services. Intended primarily for internal planning and decision making, projects were undertaken to learn what motivates individuals to participate in services and to better understand the needs and circumstances of special population sub-groups, such as Medicaid recipients, TANF recipients, and prison inmates.
- 2003 Help-Seeking Project. In 2003, the OMI sponsored the Help-Seeking Project to assess the dynamics around why couples choose to attend marriage education or other couple services (Fournier and Roberts 2003). The project explored barriers that limit a couples willingness to attend targeted services with the intention of informing OMI efforts to bolster attendance at workshops. The sample consisted of a cross-section of Oklahomans with an oversample of Medicaid recipients, a population with a potentially greater need for OMI services. Data collection involved a brief telephone survey with respondents and an expanded format for a sub-set of the sample. The results suggested strategies that might help couples decide to participate in OMI services. Initial findings from the Help-Seeking project served as the basis for a broader study funded by the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that looks at recruitment challenges among low income couples for marriage education programs.
- 2003 Pilot Study of PREP® in Correctional Centers. In 2002, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) collaborated with the OMI to develop a marriage and relationship education program for inmates in state prisons. After training chaplains in the PREP® curriculum, a pilot program was implemented in three correctional facilities in 2003. Two womens facilities and one mens prison were selected across a range of security levels; 80 individuals participated in the pilot. The pilot experience was documented through pre- and post-participation assessments for each participant, and through a small-scale process study. Review of the pilot findings led the Department of Corrections to consider several issues related to expansion of the program to other prisons, including which populations and facilities to include, how to serve married and engaged inmates, and how to address frequent prison transfers that could disrupt weekly participation. Ultimately, the DOC named PREP® as an official program, meaning that prisons with nonvolunteer chaplains must offer the workshop at least once annually.
- 2005 Survey of Medicaid Recipients. The OSUBSR conducted a survey of pregnant Medicaid recipients in the state to inform the potential development of OMI services for low-income expectant couples. This survey included questions taken from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Survey, in which Oklahoma had not been included in the sample. The goals of the survey were to describe the characteristics of pregnant Medicaid recipients; develop an understanding of their relationship quality; explore their choices concerning marriage; assess their interest and motivation in attending marriage education; and identify needed intervention services. The OSUBSR first surveyed Medicaid mothers receiving services associated with pregnancy, and then contacted their babys father. Approximately 500 women and 300 men participated in the survey. Findings helped guide the development of Family Expectations, an OMI program intended to strengthen the relationships and marriages of low-income couples expecting a baby.
- 2005 Survey with TANF Recipients. In 2005, the OMI conducted a survey of a small number of TANF recipients to inform the development of relationship-focused services for low-income individuals. The survey asked respondents about their attitudes and beliefs about romantic relationships, their current relationship status and the quality of and aspirations for their current relationship. While this effort did not result in a formal report or set of findings, survey responses assisted OMI planners and curriculum developers in understanding this target population, and informed the development of an official PREP® adaptation for low-income single parents, known as Within My Reach.