Developing Strong Recruitment Practices for Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) Programs Serving Adults

OPRE Report #2020-78
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jul 16, 2020
Daniel Friend and Diane Paulsell

HMRE programs might improve their recruitment practices through the following steps:

  • Define your target population
  • Form the recruitment team
  • Decide on a mix of recruitment strategies
  • Develop and maintain recruitment partnerships
  • Track progress and celebrate success
Although research shows adult participants in HMRE programs enjoy participating and find them worthwhile, programs often face challenges recruiting participants and reaching enrollment targets. Programs conducting evaluations that require random assignment and data collection can face additional challenges (for example, increasing recruitment to account for random assignment of some applicants to a comparison group). Recruitment challenges are not unique to HMRE programs. Other psychosocial and health interventions have faced similar issues, particularly when the interventions involve rigorous research. The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) evaluation is a five-site, random assignment evaluation of HMRE programs funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance (OFA), with evaluation sites selected from the round of HMRE grantees funded in 2015. Based on findings from prior research and the experiences of the STREAMS evaluation sites, this brief describes five steps for building recruitment capacity in HMRE programs serving adults. These steps are applicable to a variety of HMRE programs serving adults to help design and implement recruitment strategies. Future reports from the STREAMS impact and process studies will describe how well these strategies worked in practice, yielding information that can be used to further refine the strategies to improve the delivery and effectiveness of HMRE programming.

Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) Evaluation


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Time Frame


Senior Staff

Daniel Friend
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