Healthy Marriage & Responsible Fatherhood

Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood 

The Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (CRA) authorized $150 million for eight healthy marriage promotion activities and three activities to promote responsible fatherhood. 

Healthy Marriage
The Healthy Marriage Initiative helps couples gain greater access to marriage education services where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage. A healthy marriage is characterized by a mutually satisfying relationship that is committed to ongoing growth, effective communication and successful conflict management.

Healthy Marriage specified activities are:

  • Advertising campaigns on the value of healthy marriage and the skills needed to increase marital stability
  • Education in high schools on the value of healthy marriages, healthy relationship skills and budgeting
  • Marriage education, including relationship and parenting skills programs, financial management, conflict resolution and job and career advancement
  • Pre-marital education and marriage skills training
  • Marriage enhancement and marriage skills training programs for married couples
  • Divorce reduction programs that teach healthy relationship skills
  • Marriage mentoring programs that use married couples as role models and mentors in at-risk communities
  • Research on the benefits of healthy marriages and healthy marriage education

Responsible Fatherhood
Recent research shows that fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with them. Other results show that children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors including drug use, truancy and criminal activity.

Supporting and encouraging fathers to become actively involved in their child’s life can significantly reduce the adverse effects of father absence. Responsible Fatherhood activities empower individual lives, foster family strength and contribute to well-being of children and communities.

Responsible Fatherhood specified activities are:

Healthy Marriage activities including:

  • Skill-based marriage education
  • Marriage preparation programs
  • Offering financial planning seminars, including those that improve a family's ability to effectively manage family business affairs through education, counseling or mentoring on matters related to family finances, including household management, budgeting, banking and handling of financial transactions and home maintenance
  • Divorce education and reduction programs, including mediation and counseling
  • Premarital counseling
  • Relationship skill education
  • Counseling, mentoring and dissemination of information on the benefits of marriage and two-parent families
  • Education on controlling aggressive behavior within the context of marriage
  • Divorce education and reduction programs

Responsible Parenting activities including :

  • Skill-based parenting education
  • Disseminating information about good parenting practices
  • Counseling, mentoring and mediation
  • Encouraging child support payments

Economic Stability activities including:

  • Work First services
  • Job search
  • Job training
  • Subsidized employment
  • Job retention and enhancement
  • Working with existing employment systems, such as welfare-to-work programs
  • Referrals to local employment training initiatives and other methods

In addition, the CRA authorizes funding for The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse to develop a national media campaign designed to promote and encourage the appropriate involvement of fathers in the lives of their children. is ACF’s National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse collects and makes available information that promotes and supports the responsible fatherhood field and specifically supports ACF-funded Promoting Responsible Fatherhood grantees. is also an essential resource for others to learn more about the importance of responsible fatherhood and fatherhood issues.

See the list of Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grantees.