Healthy Marriage and Relationship Programs: A Promising Strategy for Strengthening Families. NHMRC Discussion Paper.

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Year Published
Author (Individual)
Myrick, Mary.
Ooms, Theodora.
Patterson, Patrick.
Author (Organization)
National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.
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In the late 1990s, a handful of states began to fund healthy marriage and relationship (HMR) programs and initiatives intended as a promising new strategy for strengthening families and improving child well-being. The states were soon followed by the federal government, which launched a healthy marriage initiative in 2002. The following questions initially were raised about this new policy development:

1. What are the reasons why government should get involved in what is surely a private matter or a matter for individuals, couples and faith-based institutions? Why should marriage and couple relationships be on the public agenda?
2. Do we know how to deliver services to strengthen marriage and couple relationships on a large scale, especially to economically disadvantaged populations?
3. Do we know whether these healthy marriage and relationship programs work?

In this brief we present a summary of some emerging answers to these three broad questions based on the lessons learned from research and program experience of the past decade. We end with a brief comment on how this new strategy fits into the spectrum of more established programs and policies that aim to strengthen and support disadvantaged families. (Author abstract)

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