In January of 2003, the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded the "Family Connections in Alabama" (FCA) project as a 12-month "Special Improvement Project" (SIP) to pilot marriage education for low-resource parents and to promote family and relationship strength. The Alabama Children's Trust Fund (CTF), in partnership with Auburn University's Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and with the support of the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Alabama Office of Child Support Enforcement, launched the FCA project through four community pilot sites. The project tested a curriculum newly developed by Michigan State University Extension specifically for the target audience, based on studies of fragile families and the barriers to family stability entitled, "Caring for My Family." Topics included: the importance of family stability and the benefits of healthy couple and married relationships, definitions of healthy and unhealthy relationships, self-care, communication skills in relationships, co-parenting skills, the importance of fathers, financial management, goal-setting, and decision-making. Goals for the project centered on strength-building in individual, couple, and family functioning. Both the program implementation process and the receptivity of the participants and the facilitators to the program were also of interest and an important part of the program evaluation study. (Author abstract).
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