Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) Training and Technical Assistance


Since 2005, the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) programs have received funding from the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance (OFA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to support services, as well as research and evaluation activities. These programs contribute to OFA’s larger goal of enhancing household and community economic security while promoting the well-being and long-term positive outcomes of families and children. Programs provide services to adults and youth that specifically target stronger relationships, positive father-child interactions, improved co-parenting capacity, and family economic stability.

MDRC worked with Public Strategies, Inc., to provide training and technical assistance to the HMRF programs with the goal of supporting them to implement strong programs. The project supported 113 programs across 30 states who are providing healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood services.

Agenda, Scope, and Goals

MDRC works with Public Strategies, Inc., to support Responsible Fatherhood and Health Marriage grantees as they launch and implement their programming, develop recruitment strategies, implement services with fidelity, and monitor engagement. Through this project, our team will provide ongoing resources and staffing to support a flexible approach that is responsive to the needs of returning programs as well as a new cohort of programs that is launching new services.

In collaboration with the program grantees, OFA, and Public Strategies, Inc., the team will engage in the following key activities over the next two years: 

  1. Develop grantee training and technical assistance (TA) plans for assigned grantees; 

  2. Provide training and TA for assigned grantees;  

  3. Develop and deliver group-based TA, including webinars, podcasts, roundtables, and site exchanges;  

  4. Develop on-line courses and video content;  

  5. Assist with written products on healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood program management and performance; 

  6. Develop employment and workforce development plans for assigned grantees; 

  7. Contribute to the development and execution of employment and workforce development strategies across the grant program; and 

  8. Assist with written products on economic and workforce development partnerships, program management, and performance.

Design, Sites, and Data Sources

Our work is designed to support the focus of the Administration for Children and Families on implementing a learning agenda that builds the knowledge base of how to promote program improvement and increase positive outcomes for individual participants, couples, and their families.

Participating programs include:  

  • 30 Family, Relationship, and Marriage Education Works (FRAMEWorks) programs providing healthy marriage and relationship education to adults in 18 states;   

  • 58 Fatherhood Family-focused, Interconnected, Resilient, and Essential (Fatherhood FIRE) programs providing responsible fatherhood services in 25 states; 

  • 25 Relationships, Education, Advancement, and Development for Youth for Life (READY4Life) programs providing healthy marriage and relationship education promotion activities for youth, including parenting youth in 14 states. 

The technical assistance (TA) that MDRC offers as a part of the project uniquely incorporates a lens of evidence, scholarship, and programmatic expertise as well as the perspectives of the practitioners and individuals engaging in the services. We use a data-informed approach that incorporates a variety of sources, including programmatic data collected by programs through a centralized database, feedback from group TA sessions, demographic information about the sites, surveys to assess program needs and solicit feedback on TA, and qualitative data. All of this data collected in individual TA sessions will inform the work.