The Long-Term Effects of Building Strong Families: A Program for Unmarried Parents

The Long-Term Effects of Building Strong Families: A Program for Unmarried Parents

Published: Apr 30, 2014
Publisher: Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 76, issue 2
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Associated Project

Building Strong Families: Strengthening Unmarried Parents' Relationships

Time frame: 2002-2013

Prepared for:

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

Authors

Andrew Clarkwest

Alexandra Killewald

Key Findings
After three years, the study showed that BSF had no effect on the quality of couples' relationships and did not make them more likely to stay together or get married.
Presents final findings from a large-scale, random assignment evaluation of Building Strong Families (BSF), a program offering relationship skills education to low-income, unmarried parents who are expecting or recently had a baby. The study found that BSF did not succeed in its central objectives of improving couples' relationships, increasing coparenting quality, or enhancing father involvement. In fact, the program had modest negative effects on some of these outcomes. Although attendance at group sessions was relatively low, there is little evidence of program effects even among couples who attended sessions regularly.

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