Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) Evaluation

2015-2020
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

 STREAMS logo

A longstanding body of evidence shows that children do best when they are raised in stable, low-conflict, two-parent families. On the other hand, unhealthy romantic relationships can put parents and their children at risk.

For these reasons, since 2005, Congress has authorized funding for programs to provide healthy marriage and relationship education services. The funding is administered through the Office of Family Assistance within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s used to provide grants to programs that offer a mix of services, from relationship education for high school youth to marriage and relationship skills programs for adults. Some programs also address family economic stability by combining job and career advancement activities with relationship education services.

The Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) project is a multisite, random assignment evaluation launched by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), an office of ACF, to identify ways to improve the delivery and effectiveness of healthy marriage and relationship education programs. OPRE hired Mathematica Policy Research and its partner, Public Strategies, to design and conduct the study.

The STREAMS team will conduct detailed process and impact studies of programs funded by ACF’s Office of Family Assistance at six sites:

  1. Family Bridges, Chicago, Illinois
  2. Family & Workforce Centers of America, St. Louis, Missouri
  3. More Than Conquerors, Atlanta, Georgia
  4. The Parenting Center, Fort Worth, Texas
  5. University of Denver, Denver, Colorado
  6. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Mathematica designed a different study for each site to answer policy-relevant research questions. The results of these studies are intended to strengthen the grant initiative and fill important gaps in the research.

In fall 2016, sites began enrolling participants and delivering services. The findings will be released throughout the project, with the final results of the impact evaluation expected in summer 2020.