Ed. Note: This is a repost from the ACF Family Room Blog. View the original post.
When I am introducing our work at the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) to new audiences, I often say “I lead the Office of Family Assistance – not the office of adult assistance or the office of child assistance.” My goal in making that statement is to signal our interest in whole family or two‐generation approaches, which provide opportunities for and meet the needs of children and their parents together. At OFA, we are focused on economic opportunity and well-being for all children and their parents, regardless of family structure—mothers and fathers, single, co-habiting and married.
A top priority of the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) is to increase family economic security and stability by supporting our state, territory, tribal and community grantee partners to design and implement programs that focus simultaneously on parental employment and child and family well-being. In support of this priority, we are pleased to announce that we have awarded 91 organizations a total of $110,660,533 in competitive grants to support parents and children in 28 states.
As part of the healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood grant programs, these grantees will provide comprehensive services to participants, including attention to the importance of employment and economic stability.
We awarded over $55 million in responsible fatherhood grants, which include 39 New Pathways for Fathers and Families grants and five Responsible Fatherhood Opportunities for Reentry and Mobility (ReFORM) grants. We awarded over $55 million in healthy marriage grants, which include 46 Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education program grants and a National Center for Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education grant.
Responsible fatherhood grantees will provide services to promote responsible parenting (e.g., counseling, mentoring, and mediation; teaching parenting skills) to foster economic stability (e.g., job training, employment services, and career-advancing education); and to promote or sustain marriage (e.g., enhancing relationship skills; education regarding how to control aggressive behavior; disseminating information on the causes of domestic violence and child abuse). Healthy marriage grantees will provide a range of services including education in high schools on the value of marriage, relationship skills, and budgeting; parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement; and premarital education and marriage skills training for engaged couples and for couples or individuals who are interested in marriage.
For this round of grants, we have included a new emphasis on key short- and long-term outcomes intended to enhance evaluation and strengthen program design. Our learning agenda is designed to increase understanding of what works and why. The most recent grant awards represent the third round of such funding since the program’s inception in 2006.
The My Brother’s Keeper task force report to the president recommended that “All sectors of society, as well as parents themselves [must] do more to help ensure that parents and caregivers are equipped with the tools to help their children succeed...” The projects funded by the grants announced today embrace this goal and include work in communities that have accepted the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge, a call to action for cities, towns, counties and Tribal Nations to build and execute plans to ensure that all young people can achieve their full potential.
We congratulate our new grantees. In addition to financial resources, we look forward to supporting our grantees with technical assistance, research and evaluation, and other resources to help them implement programs that improve outcomes for parents and children together.
Nisha Patel, Director, Office of Family Assistance