The Wichita Eagle recently profiled
the Wichita, Kansas, site in the Supporting Healthy Marriage Project
a multisite demonstration and evaluation of relationship education programs for low-income married couples. With the article, the newspaper posted two brief video interviews (one to two minutes each) with two couples – Justin and Katherine Johnson and Treva Carley and Martin Banuelos – who are among more than 700 taking part in the Wichita program, which is called Marriage for Keeps.
Motivated by evidence suggesting that children benefit from growing up with two parents who are in a stable, low-conflict relationship, the SHM project uses a rigorous research design to test a new approach to improving outcomes for low-income children by strengthening the relationship of their parents as a foundation for family well-being. The SHM model includes three mutually reinforcing components: relationship and marriage education workshops, focusing on building skills in managing conflict, communicating effectively, and working as a team in parenting children; supplemental activities that include educational and social events that build on lessons presented in the workshops; and family support services. Couples are expected to participate in the program for a year.
Funded by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Supporting Healthy Marriage is led by MDRC in collaboration with Abt Associates, Child Trends, Optimal Solutions Group, and Public Strategies Inc., along with leading experts on marriage, marital education programs, and services for low-income families. In addition to the Wichita site, SHM is operating in Orlando, Florida; Bronx, New York; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Bethlehem and Reading, Pennsylvania; El Paso and San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle and Shoreline, Washington.
Stay tuned for the first full report from the SHM project, Early Lessons from a Relationship and Marriage Skills Program for Low-Income Couples, to be published in the spring.