State Policies to Promote Marriage. Table 10: Marriage Support and Promotion


State Home Visitation (a) Mentoring/Counseling Fatherhood Programs with a Marriage Component
Alabama   Law. Family Coaches Program provides mentors for TANF recipients and low-income families--program featured on 10 o'clock Saturday newscast and Monday morning news show for wider access. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey  
Arizona   Law. HB2199 signed by governor on 04/28/00. Department of Economic Security awarded contracts to 11 organizations for Marriage and Communication Skills Programs across the state. Source: listserv August 30, 2001; Also see Marriage Preparation: State Funding and Marriage Education, Adults.  
Florida     In 1996 the Governor and legislature created the Florida Commission on Responsible Fatherhood, which funds programs in 35 counties. The Commission's policy regarding marriage and children is that strong marriages promote fatherhood and increase the likelihood that fathers will act responsibly toward their children and thus state-level policymakers should promote marriage preservation. Source:
Hawaii Statewide home visiting program; families with unstable marriages are one target group; unclear if visitors focus on marriage. Source:    
Michigan   Law. $250,000 approved in July 2001 for a marriage initiative run by the Family Independence Agency. County-level providers will work with unwed parents in 5 counties. The focus is on promoting responsible fatherhood and parenting skills, but couple counseling is also available. (Obligatory for TANF recipients and open on voluntary basis for others). Source:  
Mississippi     The Mississippi Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is funded with TANF dollars and all goals of TANF are addressed in fatherhood training programs, including two-parent families and marriage. Source: MS Department of Health and Human Services.
New Hampshire      
New Jersey      
New Mexico      
New York      
North Carolina Home visiting program is geared toward new parents. Includes relationship-building skills. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey    
North Dakota      
Oklahoma State's home visiting program, Children First, is beginning to work with the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative to include training to nurse home visitors to focus on relationships between parents and when appropriate refer them to workshops. Source: Theodora Ooms (1998). (1) 2000 Initiative includes relationship skills workshops for unmarried and married couples (See also Marriage Education - Adults). Source: Theodora Ooms, CLASP (2) 2000 marriage initiative includes establishment of a marriage resource center to provide information on marriage and mentor couples. Source:
Oregon   State pilot programs focus on strengthening a couple's relationship by building communication skills and helping them to manage and resolve conflict. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey  
Pennsylvania     The Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative approaches the subject of marriage in the fatherhood program as the best environment (but not the only one) in which to raise children. It teaches the value of marriage in the fatherhood centers and school programs. Fatherhood programs also have resource centers with information on building strong marriages. Source: Bob Randall, Fatherhood Coordinator, PA Fatherhood Initiative.
Rhode Island      
South Carolina      
South Dakota      
Texas     Since 1999, the Texas Fatherhood Initiative has promoted fatherhood statewide. Marriage promotion will soon be part of the effort in the form of training to community-based organizations on how to promote marriage within the context of a fatherhood program. Also, TFI staff make marriage part of public education (e.g., when interviewed by media often talk about benefits of a healthy marriage for children). Source: Christopher Brown, Texas Fatherhood Initiative.
Utah Governor's Commission on Marriage will use TANF funds for four different projects, one of which is support for fragile families. State will collaborate with home visiting programs to get marriage enrichment materials into homes of fragile families. Source: Governor's Commission on Marriage will use TANF funds for four different projects, one of which is support for fragile families. Vouchers offered for counseling, mediation, and attendance at workshops or conferences. Another expands Utah State University Extension Services (available in all counties). Utah State will develop and maintain a web site that includes marriage enrichment information and links to other service sites. Source:  
Virginia     Statewide, state-funded fatherhood campaign since 1996. One aspect brings together local community-based providers for workshops on developing and managing effective fatherhood programs. Program includes information on ways to promote sound marriages for program participants. Source:
West Virginia      
a/ As of 2001, 21 states used TANF funding for home visitation programs. It is unclear whether marriage promotion is on of the TANF goals emphasized by these state programs. Source: Susan Frankel, Prevent Child Abuse America.
Table Sources:
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 2001. State Efforts to Promote Marriage, Family Formation and Prevent Family Disintegration. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • Brown, Christopher. Texas Fatherhood Initiative. Correspondence with author. September 6, 2001.
  • Frankel, Susan. Prevent Child Abuse America. Correspondence with author. October 23, 2001.
  • Mississippi Department of Health and Human Services. Mississippi Responsible Fatherhood Initiative. Conversation with author. September 8, 2001.
  • Ooms, Theodora, 1998. Towards More Perfect Unions: Putting Marriage on the Public Agenda. Family Impact Seminar: Washington, D.C.
  • Randall, Bob. Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative. Correspondence with author. October 26, 2001.