What Is the Healthy Marriage Initiative?
The Healthy Marriage Initiative is a government funded program which was begun in 2005, providing funding of 150 million dollars each year for the promotion of healthy marriages and fatherhood.
The program was prompted by Congressional findings in 1996 that stated marriage is the foundation of a successful society. It further found that marriage is an essential institution of a successful society which promotes the interests of children. The act encourages States to strengthen marriages.
The Mission Statement of the Healthy Marriage Initiative says that the program’s aim is to help couples who have chosen marriage to gain greater access to marriage education services on a voluntary basis where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage. Both spouses must have a deep respect for each other
They define a healthy marriage as a mutually satisfying relationship that is beneficial to the husband and wife and also children if any are present. It’s further defined as a relationship that is committed to ongoing growth utilizing the skills of effective communication and conflict management.
Funds from the program may be used for competitive research and demonstration projects to test promising approaches to encourage healthy marriages. It should also promote involved, committed and responsible fatherhood by public and private entities.
There would also be funds to provide technical assistance to the States to be used for marriage education, marriage skills training, public advertising and high school education on the value of marriage and mentoring programs.
Some of the goals of the initiative include an effort to increase the percentage of children who are raised by two parents in a healthy marriage. Also to increase public awareness of the value of a healthy marriage using the skills and knowledge that can help couples form and sustain a healthy marriage.
Research has found that a healthy marriage encourages children and youth who are more likely to attend college and succeed academically. They would also be healthier physically and emotionally and exhibit fewer behavioral problems in school. Children from a healthy marriage should be less likely to be raised in poverty.
The findings state that communities also benefit from a healthy marriage by having healthier and better educated citizens. The rates of domestic violence and general crime would drop as would the rates of teen age pregnancy and juvenile delinquency. Community benefits further include higher rates of home ownership, higher property values and a decreased need for social services. President Bush stated that the Healthy Marriage Initiative should ensure that every child can grow up in a safe and loving home.