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Saint Louis Healthy Marriage Coalition

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Title: Saint Louis Healthy Marriage Coalition


1
Saint Louis Healthy Marriage Coalition
My childs father and I can now begin working on
sticking together when making decisions.
Female respondent after participating in St.
Louis Healthy Marriage Program
September 13, 2006 Office of Child Support
Enforcement Conference Marriott Crystal Gateway,
Arlington VA
2
Healthy Relationship Skillsfor Fragile
FamiliesA Teaching Demonstration Project
  • Special Improvement Project Priority Three OCSE

Bridget Brennan Executive Director, St. Louis
Healthy Marriage Coalition Project Officer for
SIP Grant Priority Three
3
INTRODUCTION
  • Personal responsibility is the foundation for any
    change in behavior
  • Major focus of project is to expand the base of
    service providers in our community who will be
    trained to reach a significant percent of fathers
    and mothers in designated geographic areas
  • Training will equip these parents with solid,
    practical and effective parenting skills
  • Teaching parents personal responsibility
  • Responsibility for their personal lives
  • Responsibility for the lives of their children
  • Healthy parenting skills can transfer to healthy
    relationship skills.

4
RATIONALE NEED FOR ASSISTANCE
  • Within underserved ethnic and culturally diverse
    populations, a significant number of young adults
    have entered into parenthood without the
    essential skills necessary to form and sustain a
    healthy, permanent relationship.
  • Some striking statistics
  • In 1998, 64 of African-American births were to
    unmarried women.
  • Over the last 30 years, African-American
    marriages have dropped 41.
  • 60 of unmarried parents vs. 24 of married
    parents have children by more than one partner.
  • The poverty rate is 35.2 for children in
    single-parent homes vs. 8.2 in married parent
    homes.
  • These statistics illustrate the need for fragile
    families to be educated in healthy parenting and
    relationship skills

5
MOTIVATION
  • Effective relationship skills are key for
    children being able to count on their parents for
    the financial, medical, and emotional support the
    children need to be healthy and successful.
  • Children of engaged fathers are less likely to
    have health, behavioral, and school problems.
    These children are in turn more likely to grow up
    as engaged parents themselves.
  • Putting children first and utilizing the Family
    Wellness program, we hope to ensure that parents
    make healthy relationship decisions and decide if
    marriage is appropriate.

6
PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
  • Improved relationships between parents and their
    children
  • Increased parental involvement with their
    children
  • Increased financial payments from non-custodial
    parents for their children
  • Decreased number of adversarial relationships
    between parent partners and
  • Increased progress toward family formation among
    parent partners.

7
GOALS YEAR ONE
  • Provide child support enforcement education
    training, including paternity establishment, to
    any service providers who have not received case
    education training.
  • Identify and eliminate barriers to seeking child
    support assistance.
  • Teach men and women to move from an adversarial
    attitude to one of cooperation with each other
    for the benefit of the child.
  • Build a collaborative, community effort, which
    will provide CSEA education, including paternity
    testing and family wellness training in order to
    form and sustain healthy marriages.

8
SERVICE DELIVERY NUTS BOLTS
  • Collaboration between
  • State of Missouri Division of Social Services
  • Fathers Support Center
  • St. Louis Healthy Marriage Coalition
  • Missouri child support enforcement agency
  • Local St. Louis Family Support Division offices
  • Partnered with
  • Head Start
  • Lutheran Family Services
  • Womens Safe House
  • Lemay Family Care Center
  • Our Ladys Inn
  • Black Leadership Roundtable
  • Family Resource Center
  • La Clinica
  • Manos Unidas
  • Salvation Army
  • Pregnancy Resource Center

9
PRINCIPLES OF FAMILY WELLNESS
  • Family Wellness curriculum serves as the
    foundation for program service delivery
  • Research-based, culturally competent program used
    throughout the United States to address essential
    parenting skills, personal responsibility skills,
    and basic relationship skills.
  • Target audience is at-risk urban African
    American, Bosnian and Hispanic mothers and
    fathers.

10
RECRUITMENT MARKETING
  • To date, we have recruited and marketed our
    program through a variety of mediums
  • Partner Agencies
  • Support and Referral from Missouri Division of
    Family Services
  • 1-800 Number advertised in community
  • Posters and Brochures

  • Speaking at various community meetings to spread
    the word
  • Phone Book Advertisements

11
CHALLENGES
  • Recruitment is an on-going challenge
  • Providing classes for a gender mixed population
    rather than just one gender
  • Expanding contact hours
  • Bringing parents of same child together for
    classes

12
MEASURABLE OUTCOMES
  • Actual Numbers served 292 custodial and
    non-custodial parents have been served.
  • Our goal had been to serve 214 the first year.
  • We believe we exceeded our goals for the
    following reasons
  • Commitment of trained Family Wellness instructors
  • Quality of Family Wellness curriculum
  • Ability of partner agencies to recruit
    participants
  • Family assistance gift was a perk

13
PARTICIPANT CHARACTERISTICS
  • Three-quarters of participants (75) were female
  • The majority (64) were African American,
    followed by 23 who were Hispanic
  • More than three-quarters (77) of participants
    were between the ages of 20 and 39 years, for an
    average age of 32 years
  • The number of children reported by participants
    ranged from none to nine, for an average of 2.4
    children per participant
  • More than half (59) were employed either on a
    full-time or part-time basis
  • Services provided at twelve sites

14
CHILD SUPPORT CHARACTERISTICS
Medical Coverage
Birth Certificate Documentation
15
CHILD SUPPORT CHARACTERISTICS
Paternity Child Support Documentation
Monetary Material Support Given to the Parent
Partner
16
CURRICULUM COMPONENTS
Curriculum Components Received by Participants
Percent (n171) Parents in Healthy
Families 81 Children in Healthy
Families 40 Couples in Healthy
Families 40 Change in Healthy
Families 40 Solving Family Problems 29 Passin
g on your Values 17
17
BEST PRACTICES
  • Engaging presenters
  • Role plays
  • Gender mixed classes
  • Family Wellness Coordinator who stays in close
    contact with all instructors and sites to provide
    sites with necessary support and resources
  • Cohesive professional working team including
    Family Wellness Coordinator, Family Wellness
    Research Team, Business Manager, and Executive
    Director

18
COMMENTS FROM PARTICIPANTS
Comments about what participants gained from the
Family Wellness Program
  • I have learned to listen to what he might have to
    say.
  • We never talked before and now we do, so I can
    use this information to get a deeper
    understanding of where he is coming from.
  • Ive learned to calm down and think before I
    yell.
  • I usually brush him off, but now I will take more
    time to listen.

19
COMMENTS FROM PARTICIPANTS
Specific comments from NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS
about what they gained from the program
  • I now realize how difficult it is to take care of
    the children with me not staying with them.
  • I really want to sit down with my kids one-on-one
    and see how they feel about things.
  • Its teaching me to be a better father and a
    better man.
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