Community Healthy Marriage Initiative National Evaluation
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is assisting states and local partners in improving child and family well-being by launching Community Healthy Marriage Initiatives (CHMIs). Currently, CHMIs have begun in several communities with funding through Section 1115 child support demonstration waivers. These projects are designed to promote child support enforcement objectives, including parental responsibility and the financial well-being of children.
Fifteen waiver demonstrations have been approved as of May 2006. All child support waiver demonstrations will receive an implementation evaluation that describes the nature of the community activities, their evolution over time and child support outcomes. Primary data for the implementation evaluation will come from observations, interviews, and records.
Our overall project objective is to assess the effectiveness of community interventions designed to encourage healthy marriages by examining the way the projects operate and by evaluating the community impacts of these interventions on marital child well-being outcomes among low-income families. An impact evaluation will take place in selected sites that may include some of the demonstrations funded through Section 1115 child support demonstration waivers and will be integrated with the implementation evaluation. The impact evaluation will use detailed data collection through surveys to focus on the changes in marital and child well-being outcomes among low-income families in the community that result from CHMI activities.
We will assess the impact of healthy marriage initiatives by comparing outcomes in the CHMI communities with outcomes in comparison communities that are well-matched to the project sites. A unique feature of our study is the focus on evaluation of community-level approaches to encourage community changes in norms that increase support for healthy marriages.
This study is funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation at ACF and conducted by RTI International, and its partners the Urban Institute, the Crider Group, and Betah Associates.
Useful Web Sites and Publications
- Strengthening Families & Healthy Marriage Research: Evaluation of Community Healthy Marriage Initiatives (CHMIS), 2003–2011
- Piloting a Community Approach to Healthy Marriage Initiatives: Early Implementation of the Healthy Families Nampa Demonstration
- Piloting a Community Approach to Healthy Marriage Initiatives: Early Implementation of the Healthy Marriages Healthy Relationships Demonstration - Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Susan Mitchell, Project Director
- Robert Lerman, Principal Investigator
- Anupa Bir, Co-Principal Investigator