Piloting a Community Healthy Marriage Initiative in four sites: Marion County, Indiana; Clark County, Ohio; Lakewood, Washington; Yakima, Washington

In 2002, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) instituted the Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) evaluation to document operational lessons and assess the effectiveness of community-based approaches to support healthy relationships, marriages, and child well-being. The evaluation is being conducted by RTI International and The Urban Institute. A component of the CHMI study involved an implementation study on initiatives approved by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act.1 The goals of the initiatives were to improve the child support systems through community engagement and healthy marriage and relationship education programs. Operationally, these goals included direct improvements to the child support program, like increasing the number of child support orders established, increasing paternity establishment, and increasing payment toward support obligations. The broader context for these operational goals was improving child well-being and increasing parental responsibility.

This is the final in a series of reports being produced on the implementation of demonstrations in 14 sites receiving grants under the 1115 waivers. Earlier reports covered the implementation of initiatives in Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Jacksonville, Florida; Lexington, Kentucky; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Nampa, Idaho; and New Orleans, Louisiana. This report focuses on the initiatives in Marion County, Indiana; Clark County, Ohio; Lakewood, Washington; and Yakima, Washington. The goal of the implementation studies was to describe the nature of the community initiatives, including recruitment and outreach strategies, targeting efforts, and innovative approaches for linking child support with healthy relationship and marriage support activities. This report examines key aspects of the initiatives’ community partnerships, design and implementation of service delivery, and links with child support. It does not present estimates of program impacts or effectiveness. The report is based on site visits conducted in 2010, 3 to 5 years after the initiatives were initially approved as well as information provided over the course of operations by grantees. Because these visits took place when the initiatives were ongoing, this report is not a complete accounting of what the initiatives accomplished or how many people they served over the course of their waivers. (author abstract)

Record Type: 
Publication Date: 
January, 2012
January 2012
Partner Resources
  • Family Strengthening
    • Family Formation
    • Healthy Relationships and Marriage
  • Supportive Services
    • Child Support