The Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) evaluation tested the effectiveness of a skills-based relationship education program designed to help low-income married couples strengthen their relationships and, in turn, support more stable and more nurturing home environments and more positive outcomes for children. This study assessed the impact and documented the implementation of a voluntary, yearlong program for low-income, married couples who, at study entry, had children or were expecting a child. The program model tested included three complementary components: 1) series of relationship and marriage education workshops that were the core service; 2) supplemental activities — educational and social events that were intended to build on and reinforce lessons from the workshop curriculum; and 3) family support services which paired couples with a specialized staff member who maintained contact with them and facilitated their participation in the other two program components.
The core marriage education workshops were implemented consistently across program locations, while there was more variation in implementation of the other two program components. Most couples participated in all three components of the program. Multiple technical assistance and monitoring strategies supported the implementation process: written relationship and marriage education curricula, protocols, and performance benchmarks established expectations for the content, frequency, and quality of the services. Technical assistance teams held programs accountable for working toward their goals, and they offered assistance to improve programs' performance over time
Report Title: The Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation: Final Implementation Results, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/the-supporting-healthy-marriage-evaluation-final-implementation
Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Nancye Campbell, 202-401-5760
Performer: MDRC with Abt Associates, Inc.
Record ID: 9968 (August 15, 2012)