Every day, agencies around the country are translating the research on healthy relationships into new and innovative programming.
The Resource Center facilitates one day Integration Institute trainings for State, Local, and Tribal agencies. These trainings focus on identifying strengths, needs, and collaborative strategies for integrating healthy marriage and relationship education into existing agency services. Here are integration highlights from former Institute attendees who have been working to integrate healthy relationship education into their services:
Child Find of America
After attending an Integration Institute, Aaron from Child Find of America shared resources, including those from the Resource Center and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, with his staff. These resources now provide the basis for brainstorming new ideas within his agency. He updated the conflict-resolution services of the Parent Help Program, a parenting program his agency employs. Making a departure from his agency’s usual focus on crisis after an abduction, this parenting program has become the preventative arm of Child Find. As part of the Parent Help Program, Child Find has been offering conflict resolution services rooted in understanding the value of healthy relationships.
As an extension of Aaron’s commitment to integration within his agency, he has pulled together partners and resources for a project to introduce healthy relationship skills into families at risk for child abduction. He is also working on a new project that encourages discussions about healthy relationships between parents and children, focusing on alternatives to corporal punishment and the use of effective discipline strategies. He was also involved with a new healthy relationship program in New York that focused on domestic violence. This project involved working on their domestic violence protocol, and he supported the effort using relevant information from the Resource Center’s website.
South Carolina Child Support Services
A South Carolina Integration Institute participant shared the information he learned with his colleagues and peers in Child Support Services. He also built a collaborative partnership with several fellow Institute attendees: the Department of Social Services, the Department of Corrections, and the Center for Fathers and Families. They developed a joint action plan to integrate both relationship education and fatherhood information into their services and worked together to carry it out.
The Center for Fathers and Families implements a fatherhood program with a healthy relationship component. The program also includes parenting, economic stability, and job readiness guidance. Others within the partnership are now able to reach out to the Center for assistance in offering these programs to their target audiences, such as non-custodial parents. The Institute attendee from Child Support Services was also invited by a fellow attendee from the Department of Social Services to join the state’s Trauma Management team and help create a model for trauma-informed care statewide.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
After several members of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) attended an Integration Institute, their program director and program administrator worked closely with the Resource Center’s project director to develop a strategic plan for the department. To date, they have held five community engagement events to drive a strategic plan for how to better facilitate healthy family engagement and interaction.
Families of the incarcerated, community agencies, and professional personnel were invited to attend and provide their opinions on the challenges of staying connected to incarcerated individuals as well as on the resources available to help them. The input helped ODRC determine the next steps to take in facilitating healthy family engagement. Along with the community conversations, they held eight prison focus groups with men and women at seven high and low security institutions across the state to learn how prison has affected family engagement.
The information gathered from these forums will be used in conjunction with other ODRC data to inform a comprehensive review of practices and protocols with specific recommendations for what the department can do to improve family engagement in facilities and in the community.
Highlights from the Field
Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) Grantees
The Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) grantees work with stakeholders to integrate HMRE into their services and promote it at the community level. The following examples illustrate how Healthy Marriage grantees have successfully integrated HMRE into their services:
The Dibble Institute - High School Education
The Dibble Institute is an independent, national nonprofit whose mission is to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to have healthy romantic relationships in their lives now and in the future. The Dibble Institute translates research into teaching tools used by people across the country programs. They have partnered with a Youth Build facility in California that runs a high school where their materials fit into health classes. The students learn life skills--conflict resolution, communication, financial literacy--in a context of romantic relationships, which are the same skills they can use on the job.
Healthy Relationships California (HRC) - Parenting Education
Healthy Relationships California (HRC) works with 14 partner organizations in nine of the most populous low-income counties in California. HRC provides a variety of services to youth and adults, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or TANF-eligible families as well as referrals to community services for domestic violence, drug and alcohol concerns, child support, or employment needs. HRC uses Raising Kids Twogether, a curriculum that combines a parenting component with a couple’s communication component to empower mothers and fathers to parent as a team and build a strong marriage. Participation in HMRE had such a significant effect on one couple that they became facilitators in the HRC program.