Jan 27

Past Event

Marriage Education Initiatives

Event Materials


The Brookings Institution, in cooperation with the Center for Fathers, Families, and Workforce Development in Baltimore and the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, held a forum on marriage education programs. This forum builds on research published in the Fall 2005 issue of The Future of Children, "Marriage and Child Wellbeing," published by Brookings and Princeton University. The forum featured staff who run marriage education programs in Baltimore and Oklahoma as well as couples who have participated in the two programs. Baltimore is one of the sites for the Building Strong Families research initiative sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Oklahoma Marriage Initiative is known as one of the most comprehensive marriage programs in the nation.

Congress had been poised to authorize $100 million per year for programs to encourage marriage. Research shows that the rise of female-headed families—especially those created through non-marital births—is a major cause of child poverty. If marriage rates could be increased, poverty would decline and child well-being would be enhanced. But can marriage rates be increased? Most existing marriage education programs, with content differing from program to program, work with five to eight couples in weekly sessions that feature discussions and exercises to build trust, improve communication, create rules for resolving conflict and disagreement, and build competent parenting practices.

The forum discussed the content of several marriage education programs, from the perspectives of program operators, participants, and researchers.

Event Agenda

  • Moderator

    • Joe Jones

      President, Center for Fathers, Families and Workforce Development

  • Panelists

    • Greg Mitchell and Tabitha Cates

      Participants in the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative

    • Petra Hutchison

      Family Coordinator, Oklahoma Marriage Initiative

    • Stephen Lawrence

      Family Coordinator, Baltimore Building Strong Families Program

    • Terry Brown and Nakia Staton

      Participants in the Baltimore Building Strong Families Program

    • Willie Barber

      Group Facilitator, Baltimore Building Strong Families Program

  • Welcome and Introduction


January 27, 2006

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

Rayburn House Office Building

Room B-318

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105