Building Healthy Marriages and Family Relationships: A Collaboration for Boston Families

Dec 2009 | Authors: Jessica Pearson, Ph.D., Nancy Thoennes, Ph.D., Lanae Davis, M.P.A., Center for Policy Research

Excerpt from Executive Summary of Report: The Boston Healthy Marriage Initiative was a five-year demonstration project funded by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (2004-2009). Known as Relationships for Real Life (RRL), the project was conducted by the Father Friendly Initiative (FFI) of the Boston Public Health Commission. RRL consisted of facilitated classes for low-income, single individuals and couples that aimed to improve the quality of their relationships, build support for marriage and boost paternity establishment and child support payment.

RRL recruited a population frequently missed in healthy relationship and marriage programs: single, low-income men and women, many of whom were living in crisis and did not have romantic relationships. The program also served a wide age group. Participants were primarily unemployed or low-income African-American men and women, many of whom have a criminal justice and substance abuse history, live in unconventional settings and receive public benefits.

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