This study presented early implementation and operational lessons from the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation. In the first year of program implementation, SHM providers focused on three main tasks: developing effective marketing and recruitment strategies, keeping couples engaged in the program, and building management structures and systems.
Simply distributing brochures and posters was not a sufficient recruitment technique for most programs. Programs also found that they needed to partner with local agencies and community organizations, and go into their communities to speak directly with couples. Programs made services as accessible and as attractive as possible. They offered activities during evenings and weekends, provided meals, transportation and child care assistance, emergency funds, and modest incentives. The research team held programs accountable by requiring that they achieve particular benchmarks in enrollment and participation. Early participation data showed that within six months of enrollment, more than 80 percent of couples attend at least one workshop and went on to complete an average of 20 workshop hours. More than 85 percent of couples attend at least one family support meeting and complete, on average, 4.5 meetings within six months.
Report Title: Early Lessons From the Implementation of A Relationship and Marriage Skills Program for Low-Income Married Couples
Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Nancye Campbell, 202-401-5760
Record ID: 9671 (Report completed October 15, 2010)