The present proposal, "Enhancing Relationship Skills and Confidence in Marriage in Fragile Families" is a Special Improvement Projects grant request to the Office of Child Support En-forcement for $199,994.

 The purpose of the present project is to develop and test a curriculum to teach unmarried, cohabiting parents of infants relationship skills and the value of marriage that will (1)  increase the quality of their relationship, (2) increase the likelihood of their marrying or (3) as an alternative, in-crease their willingness to establish paternity and child support.  Specifically, a cross cultural team of marriage educators, teachers, a mother and infant home visitor, a fatherhood practitioner, an in-digenous couple, and social scientists will adapt the Healthy Family Survival Skills program to cre-ate and test a relationship education program that will be effective particularly with poor African American couples.  Three male and female teams of Family Life Educators will be trained to teach the new curriculum.

Children in Cuyahoga County have eight times the risk of poverty as children born to mar-ried parents.  These children are also at greater risk for physical and mental illness, dropping out of school, delinquency, having their own children outside marriage.   Cleveland�s unmarried birth rate is 66%, fourth highest among 50 large cities for unmarried births.  Cleveland also ranks fourth highest in total births to teens (20%) and teens who were already mothers (28% of teen births).
Because of the large number of poor, unmarried Black couples, African American educators will assist the curriculum development so that the program appeals to African American couples.  Poor, unmarried couples who have a new baby will be invited to take the Couple�s Skills Classes.  If the couples who have taken Couple�s Skills Classes improve in (1) measures of relationship sat-isfaction, as measured on the ENRICH Couple Scales, (2) willingness to marry or (3) to establish paternity and child support four months after completing the course, the class will indicate that this population can be taught successfully to improve the quality of their relationships.  The course will be made available for broader use and further research.

 The purpose of the present project is to develop and test a curriculum to teach poor, unmar-ried parents, who are known in research literature as "fragile families," relationship skills to in-crease the quality of their relationship and increase their willingness to establish paternity and pay child support or marry.  Specifically, a cross cultural planning team of marriage educators, teachers, a mother and infant home visitor, a fatherhood practitioner, an indigenous couple, and social scien-tists will draw from two couple�s skills programs to create and test a relationship education pro-gram that will be effective, particularly with poor African American couples.  The goals of the cou-ple�s skills program are to (1) increase couples� relationship and co-parenting skills as measured by their increase in satisfaction in these areas four months following the course, and (2) increase their willingness to establish paternity and either pay child support or marry.

The Need
The failure of marriage is one of the greatest�but least confronted�factors affecting
socio-economic development in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.  The statistics are clear.   In Cuyahoga County in 2001, 65% of couples divorced compared to those marrying.  In Cuyahoga County, families headed by women increased by 12% during the last decade (Center on Urban Poverty and Social Change: Can Do Online Database).  In the region, the number of unmarried households in-creased 82% to 55,000 households.

According to the 1999 Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT Special Report, two-thirds of babies in Cleveland are born to unmarried parents.  Cleveland places fourth highest among 50 large cities for unmarried births.  Cleveland also ranks fourth highest in total births to teens (20%) and teens who were already mothers (28% of teen births).  Cleveland is seventh highest on the percent of low birth weight births (12%) and the percent of preterm births (16%).  In the neigh-borhoods where we will conduct our project, a neighborhood center director�s records estimate that only 15% of mothers live with the father of their babies at the time of birth.  Fifty percent of the mothers have completed eighth grade.  Fourteen percent have graduated from high school.  Mar-riage is not a priority  (Sanders, M., 2002).

These data prompted the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Feb. 5, 2002) to assert that Cleveland is "a lousy place to be born." Referring to births to unmarried parents and the poverty surrounding them, a Cleveland Plain Dealer (February 8, 2002) editor wrote,

"How to fight such a social ill is a good question, and we invite constructive responses.  But the imperative to fight it, not just ameliorate its symptoms, is unquestionably as crucial to Cleveland�s future as landing any industry imaginable."

According to George Zeller, Senior Researcher at the Council of Economic Opportunities, the absence of married parents increases the risk of child poverty by eight times in Cuyahoga County, higher than the national poverty risk of five times.  Even in the poorest sections of Cleve-land, married families have a much lower risk of poverty than single parent families.  For example, in Central, Cleveland�s poorest neighborhood, 85% of female-parent families are poor, compared to a rate of 40% for married families.  In East Cleveland, 41% of female-parent families are poor com-pared to 10% of married families.

Research shows clearly that children of married parents are more advantaged than are chil-dren of divorced parents.  They are healthier, have fewer behavior and learning problems, commit fewer crimes, go farther in school, are less prone to become unmarried parents themselves, and make more money as adults (Waite and Gallagher, 2000). Marriage provides a greater chance that children will grow up with their own biological fathers living in their home.  The presence of a bio-logical father benefits children in a number of ways, particularly through his income contribution.  Persistent poverty has detrimental effects on a child�s IQ, school achievement, health, and emotional functioning (McLoyd, V. C., 1998).

James Q. Wilson (2002) says that America is divided into two nations.  "In one nation, a child, raised by two parents, acquires an education, a job, a spouse, and a home kept separate from crime and disorder by distance, fences, or guards.  In the other nation, a child is raised by an unwed girl, lives in a neighborhood filled with many sexual men but few committed fathers, and finds gang life to be necessary for self-protection and valuable for self-advancement."  Sara McLanahan (1997) addresses the question about whether poverty or family structure, itself, is more detrimental to children.  In her review of research she answers an "overwhelming yes" that family structure affects a child�s wellbeing.

Evidence is emerging that poor fathers who live with their children can benefit their lives significantly.  When fathers live with mothers during pregnancy, babies have higher birth weight (Padilla and Reichman, 2001).  Even poor fathers can contribute time, attention, supervision, a model, and an authority figure.  Children will have the social support of their father�s friends and relatives.  (McLanahan, S. 2001).  Cognitive development is particularly enriched by fathers.  The number of years a father is present in a child�s life is a predictor of finishing high school (Brooks-Gunn, 1993). Coley (1998) demonstrated that chidren of fathers with warmth and control achieved more and had fewer behavior problems.

Harmonious relationships with a child�s mother increases the possibility that the father will be involved.  (Coley, R., 1999).  Children of married parents do not have to endure the going and coming of multiple father figures that can break emotional bonds, common in cohabiting and single parent families.  Children have more behavior problems with more changes in father figures in the family (Ackerman, B.P., et. al., 2001).  Children are most protected from abuse when they live with their two biological parents.  Preschool children residing with step parents are reported to be forty times more likely to become child abuse cases than children living with their natural parents, re-gardless of socioeconomic status, family size, and maternal age at the child�s birth. (Daly, M. and Wilson, M., 1985).

In the "Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study," poor couples were found to aspire to being married at high rates.  According to this study, at the time of their baby�s birth, half of unmar-ried mothers and fathers are living together, another third are romantically involved, and over 70% of mothers say their chances of marrying the baby�s father are �"50-50 or greater."  However, most do not get married.  Only about half of unmarried cohabiting parents are still living together after six years.  (McLanahan, Garfinkel, and Mincy, 2001)

African Americans have special issues regarding marriage.  In 1997, the birth rate for un-married African Americans was 69%, more than three times the national average (Wilson, 2002).  Their divorce rate is double that of the general population.  Rates of violence between men and women are greater than for other races.  Black male infidelity is double that of white men and Black mothers are more likely to give negative messages to their daughters about Black men.  (Franklin, 2000).  The reasons for family structure differences among African Americans are varied and many.  Sabol (2002) points to high rates of Black male incarceration leaving fewer available, desir-able men.  Franklin (2000) and Wilson (2002) describe the overall effects of slavery and welfare, which enhanced women�s power and competence as income producers over that of men.  The effect has been to increase Black women�s disappointment with Black men and decrease their desire for a committed relationship.

With marriage linked positively with many benefits to children and society, it seems logical and crucial to create programs to strengthen couples� ability to get and stay married.  However, promoting marriage in Cleveland is not easy.  One fatherhood practitioner said, "Marriage is more controversial than gay fatherhood."  A Black city councilman pointed out that Black women are bitter toward Black men because they feel so disappointed.  A Black program officer in a large foundation said she did not believe that marriage is practical in the African American community.  In this city with a rich history of social service, accepting without judgement the diversity of family form is the politically correct approach.

One way to convince leaders that relationships of poor, at-risk unmarried parents can be strengthened, the likelihood of marriage increased, and children better off for it is to provide evi-dence through a well-designed program.  Research has shown that couples can learn behavior to promote satisfaction and reduce risk of divorce through educational programs that are structured, replicable, and economical.  However, available programs, for example, Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) (Markman, et. al. 1994) and Relationship Enhancement, and Cou-ples Communications Program (Giblin, P. Sprenkle, D.H., and Sheehan, R. 1985), have been tested with mostly engaged or married, middle or working class couples.  Cleveland needs a program which increases the capability of poor, unmarried parents to live and nurture their children together securely and productively, and when possible, married.  The curriculum should be cross cultural with content and style of delivery useful for poor people, especially African Americans.  The Mar-riage Coalition is in a unique position to bring together a team to develop and test such a curricu-lum.

The Marriage Coalition, Its Vision and Mission:  The Marriage Coalition seeks to en-hance family life in Greater Cleveland through strengthening marriage, as well as to increase com-munity understanding of and appreciation for marriage.  We do this by training clergy, social serv-ice professionals, and mentor couples to teach skills for marriage to premarital and married couples.  We also provide information to the media about the benefits of marriage. Working through a Board of Trustees and a part-time Executive Director who is a psychologist and marriage educator, The Marriage Coalition is an emerging, secular, marriage-strengthening entity.  Cleveland is the largest city nationally to have an organization doing this cutting edge work.  The Marriage Coalition is acting on the forefront of innovative programming and cultural change�forging alliances for mar-riage skills training, networking with leaders in all sectors of society, coalescing support for advo-cating marriage for the 21st Century.  Although we provide programs for clergy and congregations, the organization�s mission is based on scientific research on the value of marriage.  We take no moral or religious stands.

History:  The Marriage Coalition was founded under the fiscal agent, East Side Interfaith Ministries, in January 1999, by a group of interfaith, interracial clergy and mental health profes-sionals.  In August 2000, the Coalition was granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Serv-ice.  In September, 2000 we completed a strategic plan and received grants and fees for service to develop and begin to offer some training programs and public outreach.  In July, 2002, we com-pleted an organization plan.  We have recently applied for a grant for curriculum development, pro-gram evaluation, and marketing.  We continue to ramp up the organization�s capacity.

Programs:  The Marriage Coalition offers a proactive program:  (a) Train clergy, social service professionals, and mentor couples to provide communication and conflict resolution skills to engaged and married couples; (b) Maintain a public information campaign about the benefits of marriage to adults and children.  To date The Marriage Coalition has (1) Written the Covenant to Strengthen Marriage, an agreement among clergy and social service professionals to provide a high standard of care for engaged and married couples which has been signed by 115 clergy, including leaders of major faith groups;  (2) Trained 75 clergy and social service professionals and 13 mentor couples to provide communication and conflict resolution skills to engaged and married couples using PREPARE/ENRICH Version 2000;  (3) Provided education and outreach to leadership at top levels of city and county government and agencies considering a summit on family structure;  (4) Presented two marriage education conferences, "Making Marriages vs Doing Weddings,"  featur-ing Mike and Harriet McManus; and "New Hope for the Marriage Crisis," featuring Dr. Scott M. Stanley;  (5) Published since Fall 1999 a quarterly newsletter, Strengthening Marriage, that is dis-tributed to 3,000 clergy, social service professionals, and other individuals;  (6) Launched a Public Information and Media Campaign with articles in the Cleveland Plain Dealer  and television public service announcements.

In Cleveland no other agency has taken on the goal of reducing the divorce rate and reduc-ing births to unmarried parents through training trainers or promoting marriage.  With its network of collaborating agencies, The Marriage Coalition can bring together a team to develop a program that will provide poor couples with the understanding of marriage�s benefits  and the ability to get and stay married.

Criterion II:  APPROACH
McLanahan (2002) describes a $150 million experiment to investigate the effects of various forms of relationship education and policy changes on six experimental groups involving 7,000 participants.   She suggested that the project is not feasible on a national basis because both Liber-als and Conservatives would object to policy and funding implications.   To allay  any such objec-tions, a small, local experiment, such as the present proposal, could add information about the feasi-bility and effectiveness of relationship education for poor, unmarried couples.  This research could encourage political willingness to test programs on a larger scale.

 Overview:  The purpose of the present project is to develop and test a curriculum to teach unmarried, cohabiting parents of infants relationship skills and the benefits of marriage that will (1)  increase the quality of their relationship, (2) increase the likelihood of their marrying or (3) as an alternative, increase their willingness to establish paternity and child support.  Specifically, a cross cultural team of marriage educators, teachers, a mother and infant home visitor, a fatherhood practi-tioner, an indigenous couple, and social scientists will draw from several programs available to cre-ate and test a relationship education program that be  appropriate for poor, unmarried cohabiting parents.  Because of the large number of unmarried Black couples, African American educators will assist the curriculum development so that the program appeals to African American couples.  Poor, unmarried couples who have a new baby will be invited to take Couple�s Skills Classes.  Three groups will be taught in successive three-month intervals.  If the couples who have taken relation-ship skills have improved in measures of relationship satisfaction or willingness marry or to estab-lish paternity and child support four months after completing the course, the relationship skills class will have created the couples� improved outcome.  The Couple�s Skills Classes can then be applied across the city and in other locations to improve couple cohesion for poor unmarried couples.  Further study should show which aspects of the program made the improvement.  If, on the other hand, the couples taking Couple�s Skills Classes show no improvement, more research will be nec-essary to develop a method to strengthen these couples.

Participants:  Mothers and fathers of newborns will be recruited from neighborhood cen-ters in poor communities with a large African American population.  Many will be participants in "Help Me Grow, Early Start," a county-wide home visitation program for at-risk mothers and ba-bies.  Early Start home visitors support families with children up to the age of three years.  In 2001 between January and September, Help Me Grow, Early Start served 4,721 families.  Families re-ceive parenting and child development education and are linked to health and social services.  The children receive regular developmental screenings.  Couples selected for the present study will have the following risk factors: (1) single parent�unmarried, but cohabiting�families and (2) family income  below 185% of poverty level.  They may have two other risk factors that qualify the family for Help Me Grow, Early Start such as health concerns of mother or baby.  Risk factors that would disqualify inclusion in the project will be identified drug and alcohol problems of either parent, do-mestic violence, child abuse or neglect, acute mental illness, or lack of stable residence.

In order to learn more about this population, we will compare mean scores of the ENRICH Couple Scales against the national norms.  This will document the characteristics of couple�s rela-tionships among urban, minority, poor, cohabiting, at risk parents.  In so doing, we will be able to expand previous research to a group that has significantly different attitudes toward marriage than the normal sample.

 Procedure :  The project will be accomplished in five phases:  Phase 1�Curriculum De-velopment and Staff Training;  Phase 2�Enrollment and Preparation;  Phase 3�Implementation of Classes;  Phase 4�Evaluation;  and Phase 5�Writing of Results.

Phase 1:  Curriculum Development and Staff Training, January 1, 2002�April 30, 2003.  Survival Skills for Healthy Families will be used as the backbone of the program because it has been used with excellent results in a wide variety of cultures and venues.  For example, families coping with gang activity, social service agencies for family preservation, child abuse prevention programs, drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs, as well as schools and churches have used Survival Skills.  Over 600,000 families have participated in the program with improved family func-tioning.  For example, in a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Project participants report 70% im-provement in communication skills, 80% considered their family to be closer, 25% believed their families were solving problems better, and 45% reduced or eliminated drug use (Creighton, F. and Doub, G., 1999).  The program focuses on skills and patterns of the parents which avoid problems in health and life competencies .  In addition, topics will be drawn from (1) A Curriculum for Young Fathers (National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership, (2002), (2) a money management class for low income people, and (3) paternity and child support topics from the Cuyahoga Support Enforcement Agency.

Teaching methods will be highly interactive with simple rules providing a road map for healthy families.  Activities and drama will often be used as teaching methods to enhance learning, as recommended in Teaching With the Brain in Mind, a curriculum enrichment guide published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Jensen, 1998).  Staff and partici-pants will role-play problems and then skills to solve them will be taught.  Couples will be coached in how to act in new ways.
The following people will participate on the Curriculum Development Team:  Sandra Bender, Ph.D., Project Director, specialist in relationship education; Judy Charlick, Ph.D., Director of Curriculum & Instruction and curriculum design specialist, who are Marriage Coalition staff;  Kaw David Whitaker, Ph.D., Esq. education and fatherhood specialist;  Jorethia L. Chuck, Ph.D., NCSP, professor of school psychology; one family life education teacher, one Help Me Grow home visitor, Nigel Vann, M.A., creator of A Curriculum for Young Fathers, and George Doub, Ph.D., creator of Survival Skills for Healthy Families.  Over November 12-15, 2002, eight persons who include staff and project teachers will be trained to provide Survival Skills for Healthy Families in Grand Rapids, MI.  Drs. Bender and Charlick will produce an Instructor�s Manual for the re-vised curriculum at the end of Phase 1.

Phase 2. Enrollment and Preparation,  January, 2003 ? February, 2003.

We expect to enroll a total of 72 couples in the course.  We expect attrition, with at least 45 couples completing the course.  Brochures will be prepared for home visitors to distribute that de-scribe benefits of the Couple�s Skills Classes for the couple and their baby, as well as the gifts that they will receive at the end of each class.  Home visitors in Help Me Grow, Early Start and program teachers will publicize the classes at hunger centers.  Home visitors and teachers will be trained to describe the content of the program, and to ask questions about father relationships to identify cou-ples who might benefit from the program.  We anticipate that motivating couples to attend classes will be difficult.  Getting them to participate will require personal contact, persistence, and material incentives.  The classes will be located in three neighborhood centers located in poor communities.

As incentives to attend, couples will receive items that they cannot receive at the hunger cen-ters and are recommended by a neighborhood center director.  Examples of gifts are formula, dis-posable diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, light bulbs, dishwashing liquid, and bath soap.  Couples who complete all six classes and return for a four-month evaluation will receive a larger gift such as a crib, stroller, or vacuum cleaner.  Couples will be contactedthrough (1) follow-up phone calls and (2) post cards.  Couples will be given transportation vouchers for each class, meals before the pro-gram will be arranged, and child care will be provided.
Phase 3. Implementation of Classes, March, 2003�August, 2003.

Teachers will be a male-female team  so that mothers and fathers will have same-gender role models.  Three pairs of teachers from the Family Life Education Department of the Cleveland Pub-lic Schools and the Dasi-Ziyad Family Institute will be used to prevent the personalities of teachers from influencing the results.  All teachers will have been trained in Survival Skills for Healthy Families, and the newly adapted curriculum that includes A Curriculum for Young Fathers.

In six weekly two-hour sessions, participants will learn to (1) Envision the future and nur-ture their couple relationship;  (2) Listen to their partner;  (3) Make parentingrules together based on a child�s age and abilities;  (4) Be parents together, without physical discipline;  (5) Know what they want, say what they want and cooperate;  (6) Promote their child�s feeling lovable and capable;  (7) Solve problems and use resources;  (8) Relate to extended families and friends;  (9) Examine attitudes about sex, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol;  (10) Manage money together, including establish-ing paternity and child support; (11) Learn the value of marriage and examine issues;  (12) Work together to accommodate to growth and change.

Teachers will follow this procedure:  (1) Demonstrate the application of a rule, (2) Teach a skill, (3) Assess a participant�s ability to use a skill, (4) Coach a participant in the application of a skill to their particular situation.  Using examples from the African American culture and the cou-ples� lives, participants can feel that these skills are relevant to them.

Teachers will meet at a neighborhood center and eat with couples before each class.  Parents will have to  feed their babies and other children.  After the meal, certified child-care workers will care for the babies and children while parents attend classes.  Each class will have eight couples, hoping that five couples will complete each series.  Couples who miss classes will be contacted and encouraged to return.  Classes will be two hours long and run six weeks.  At the beginning of the first class and the end of the last class, couples will fill out an "ENRICH Couple Scales" and "Marriage, Paternity, and Child Support Rating Scale."  At the end of each class, couples will be given a checklist to evaluate the class.

The following table describes the schedule of classes.

Schedule of Classes and Evaluation after Four Months

March�April, 2003
Group 1. Couple�s Skills 3 classes 8 couples per class 24 couples total

May--June, 2003
Group 2. Couple�s Skills 3 classes 8 couples per class 24 couples total

July--August, 2003
Group 3. Couple�s Skills 3 classes 8 couples per class 24 couples total
Total Classes 9 classes 8 couples per class 72 couples total

September, 2003
Evaluation Group 1 3 classes 5 couples per class 15 couples

November, 2003
Evaluation Group 2 3 classes 5 couples per class 15 couples

January, 2004
Evaluation Group 3 3 classes 5 couples per class 15 couples
Totals 9 classes 5 couples per class 45 couples

Phase 4.  Evaluation.  August, 2003�October, 2003
(Please see Criterion III for a detailed description).  At the beginning of the first class and the end of the final class, couples will take ENRICH Couple Scales by David Olson and a Mar-riage, Paternity, and Child Support Rating Scale, which will be developed by the project staff.  Par-ticipants will fill out a short checklist at the end of each class to determine immediate response sto the class.  Couples� pre and post evaluation forms will be scored and entered into the computer by an office assistant.  Statistical analysis will be conducted and data analyzed.  The end-of-class check list will be used to revise the curriculum.  Evaluation will be conducted by Drs. Bender and Charlick with Dr. Cameron Camp as Research Advisor.

Phase 5.  Writing of results for publication.  November, 2003�February, 2004.
There will be two publications.  (1) An article will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal;  (2) The Couple�s Skills curriculum:  Couple�s Guide and Leader�s Guide will be written for use in further research.  Sandra Bender and Judy Charlick, will write the curriculum with George Doub and Nigel Vann collaborating.

The process objective is to have 72 couples (eight couples in each of nine classes) register for the course and a minimum of 45 couples  complete four classroom sessions and the four-month evaluation.  Records will be kept of registration and attendance.  Couples who miss a meeting will be phoned and a letter card sent.  Couples who miss more than two sessions will not be used in the database.

In addition, a Couple�s Skills Leader�s Manual and Couple�s Guide will be produced at the end of the project.

Hypothesis 1:  The main hypothesis is that the Couple�s Skills Class will improve the re-lationship of poor, unmarried, cohabiting, at risk couples.
Hypothesis 1a:  A corollary hypothesis is that at the four month follow-up the couples will have maintained the improvement from the Couple�s Skills Class.
Hypothesis 2:  The Couple�s Skills Class will increase the willingness of poor, unmarried, cohabiting, at risk couples to (1) establish paternity  and (2) establish child support or marry.
Hypothesis 2a:  A corollary hypothesis is that at the four month follow-up the couples will have followed through on (1) establishing paternity , (2) establishing child support or (3) marrying.
For Hypothesis 1, we plan to test the null hypothesis with a t-test that the mean difference (or change) between pre and posttest pairs is 0.00 on five ENRICH Couple Scales:  (1) Marital Satisfaction measures couples� relationship satisfaction;  (2) Communication measures couples� perceptions about their communication skills;  (3) Conflict Resolution measures couples� percep-tion about their conflict management;  (4) Parenting and Children measures couples� satisfaction about co-parenting;  and (5) Idealistic Distortion measures optimism about the relationship.  The standardization group was 40,133 cohabiting or married couples that included a range of distressed and happy couples.

The ENRICH Couple Scales were chosen because of their high reliability and predictive va-lidity of relationship satisfaction or future divorce.  The alpha reliability of the couple mean scores of the Marital Satisfaction Scale is .86 and the test-retest reliability is .86.  The reliability scores of the other ENRICH Couple Scales are similar.
The design is a comparison of a pre and posttest measure of relationship and parenting sat-isfaction replicated for three groups.  ENRICH Couple Scales will produce a score for each partner on five scales.  The partners� scores for each couple will be added and divided by two to obtain a couple mean score.  The same procedure will be used for the pre-class ENRICH measure and the post-class ENRICH measure. We chose to replicate the course three times because couples are in-volved in a variety of other projects that might influence their outcomes.  We believe that with repli-cation, we have more confidence in interpreting results.  In addition, budgetary and personnel con-straints limit the number of couples  who can be enrolled at a given time, requiring that we teach at intervals.

The proposed sample size is a minimum of45 couples who complete at least four sessions of the course:  five couples  in each class, three classes  per group, three different groups.  Group 1 will take the class March�April, 2003.  Group 2 will take the class May�June, 2003.  Group 3 will take the class July�August 2003.
With each Group sample size of at least 15 pairs, the study will have power of 95.1% to yield a statistically significant result.  This computation assumes that the population from which the sample will be drawn has a mean difference of 5.0 with a standard deviation of 4.7.  The observed value will be tested against a theoretical value (constant) of 0.00.

This effect was selected as the smallest effect that would be important to detect.  David Ol-son (personal communication, Aug., 2002), who developed the ENRICH Couples Scales has stated that a mean difference of 5 is a reasonable effect size to be anticipated in this field of research based on data he has thus far collected.
For Hypothesis 1a, which is four-month follow-up evaluation, we plan to test the null hy-pothesis that the mean difference (or change) between pre-class and four-month pairs is 0.00 on the five ENRICH Couple Scales.  A t-test will be conducted in the same manner as the pre and post-class analysis.  To enable us to determine whether those who do not complete the class are different from persons who stay, we will use a Heckman correction procedure.

Hypothesis 2 is that the Couple�s Skills Class will increase the willingness of couples to establish paternity and child support or marry.  At the beginning and at the end of the series of classes, participants will be given a Likert scale with a 1 to 5 point range on three items to determine how many persons have established paternity and pay child support and their willingness to estab-lish paternity, pay child support, and marry.  A t-test will determine the difference between pre and post tests.  Four months following the classes, couples will repeat the questionnaire about whether they (1) established paternity , (2) established child support or (3) married or their willingness to do so.  Again, a t-test will determine the difference between pre and post tests.

In addition, couples will evaluate each class by filling out a short checklist to determine their satisfaction with the class just attended.  This checklist will be used to make final revisions of the course.

Future Studies:  This study fills a gap in beginning to understand whether relationship skills can and should be taught to poor, urban, at risk couples.  Although the urban poor have the greatest need, a program with an active teaching style to strengthen their relationships does not exist.  If the Couples Skills program is successful in increasing couples� positive behavior with each other and their children and in increasing their willingness to marry or provide child support, its use should be expanded and research continued.  The program should be tested on other types of groups, such as cohabiting working class couples and other minority groups to determine whether it can be gener-ally applied.  A future study using a variety of control groups would determine  which aspects of the program make the most difference.
Sandra Bender, Ph.D. will direct the evaluation and Cameron Camp, Ph.D. will provide technical assistance.


a & b Personnel Expenses
 Percent on Project Annual Salary 17 Mo Pro-ject Salary Fringe Benefits Totals
Position Title
Project Director             0.40         60,000          34,000        4,615          38,615
Dir. of Curriculum & Instruction             0.25         50,000          17,709         2,913          20,622
Research Assistant             0.50         25,000          17,709         2,913          20,622
Total Personnel and Fringe          69,418       10,441      79,859

 Cost for 1 People Days Subtotals
c.  Travel Air Fare for Training              350  8         2,800
         Hotel              120  8 5        4,800
         Food                50  8 5        2,000
    Total travel            9,600
d.  Equipment  none
e.  Supplies
        Paper & cartridges          1,510
        iMac computer          1,395
       Airport card              100
        Lexmark printer              287
        Desk              180
        Chair              150
        Surge protector                30
        Two line phone                70
Subtotal Office Supplies           3,722
     Program   Shippping
        Books:  Healthy Family                15  84                76           1,336
  couple visits
        Baby and household items                10              666            6,660
        Bissel Vacuum              100               18            1,800
        Stroller or car seat                50               45            2,250
     Subtotal Program Supplies           12,046
     Total Supplies         15,768
f.  Contractual   Per hour   hours
    Cleveland Public Schools  2 teachers  37.28              481         17,932
    Dasi Ziyad Family Institute  2 teachers  37.28              481         17,932
    Fatherhood practitioners    2 teachers  37.28              481         17,932
         to be determined
    University Settlement House
         Room   21 meetings                415
         Food   21 meetings    18 people               567
         Child care 2 persons   18 meetings            1,426
         Child care 1 person   3 meetings
         Total for one location              2,408
     Two other neighborhood centers   2 programs             2,408
         to be determined              2,408

        George Doub   2 days            2,000
        Nigel Vann   1 day            1,000
        Kwa David Whitaker                75   20 hrs            1,500
        Jorethia L. Chuck                75   20 hrs            1,500
       William Sabol                75   16 hrs            1,200
       Indigenous couple                 15   40 hrs              600
        Accounting & auditing             6,000
      Total Contractural          74,819
 g.  Construction   none
 h.  Other
         Rent               400   17 mos            6,800
         Telephone & voice Mail                 48   17 mos              816
         Internet hookup                 25   17 mos              425
         Printing              0.49           3,000            1,470
         Postage                745
         Bus vouchers for couples                   6              682            4,092
         Tuition for staff training              5,600
       Total Other          19,948
 Total         199,994

a. & b  Personnel  Total is $79,859.  Please see chart for breakdown.

Project/Research Director.  Sandra Bender, Ph.D. will coordinate all activities, participate in cur-riculum development, develop procedures, plan and implement marketing, train home visi-tors and teachers to enroll couples, oversee finances, analyze data, co-author manuals, author a journal article, and maintain quality throughout the project.  Dr. Bender is experienced in developing relationship education programs, having written Recreating Marriage with the Same Old Spouse:  A Couple�s Guide and Leader�s Guide, published by Westminster John Knox Press.  These books are appropriate for middle class (and higher), educated audiences.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction:  Dr. Charlick, Ph.D. will lead the curriculum development team, revise the curriculum with the collaboration of the advisory team, train the teachers, supervise instruction, and co-author the curriculum again based on the experience of the project.  She has 31 years of experience in multicultural educational settings.

Research Assistant:  To be named.  The Research Assistant will contact clients about classes, maintain records, assist with creating classroom materials, and input data into the computer.  She/he will have a bachelor�s degree and three years of administrative experience.

c.  Travel expenses total $9,600.  Drs. Bender and Charlick and six teachers to attend Instructor Training in Healthy Family Survival Skills.  (Please see the note under Other:  Tuition).  Air fare for eight to Grand Rapids, MI, is $350 each, totaling $2,800.  The Marriott Hotel cost is $120 per night including tax, for a total of $4,800 and food per day is $50 for eight people.

e.  Supplies is $15,102, divided into Office Supplies, $3,722, and Program Supplies, $12,046. Office supplies will furnish and supply an additional room (see Other:  Rent) equipped with a desk, $180, and Chair, $150 because three people will work at the same time.  An iMac G4, computer, cost of $1,395, is needed to keep records, analyze data, and develop teaching materials.  An Airport Card for $100 allows the computer to be connected to the internet and the other computers in the office, which are iMacs.  A Lexmark printer, $287, is needed to print a large quantity of classroom materials quickly, as well as inter-agency communica-tions.  The surge protector, $30, for the electronic equipment is standard and necessary pro-tection.

Program Supplies are directly related to participant activities.  Each of the 72 couples will receive the couple�s guide for Healthy Family Survival Skills, at $15 each plus total shipping of $76, totaling $1,336.  Motivating couples to attend classes requires giving them something that is tangible, valued, and not obtained at the hunger center.  We will provide each couple with a bag of $10 worth of items including disposable diapers, shampoo, soap, light bulbs, baby clothes, paper towels, and toilet paper at every class attendance.  With an estimated total of 666 sessions attended, allowing for a gradual attrition, at $10 each, weekly incentives total $6,660.  We need 45 couples to attend four classes plus a four month follow-up meas-ure, and will give them a bonus of a stroller or car seat worth $50.  We expect 18 to attend all sessions and the follow-up and will give them a Bissell vacuum worth $100, at a cost of $1,800, which we understand is rare and prized in the sample community.

f. Contract services total $74,189.   Six teachers, teaching in male-female teams will be drawn from the Cleveland Public Schools Family Life Department, the Dasi Ziyad Family Insti-tute, and fatherhood practitioners from social service agencies (to be named.)  All teachers will be African American because most of the couples will be African American or mixed race, and will have bachelors degrees and at least three years working with our program population.  Teachers will assist in curriculum development, attend training in Healthy Family Survival Skills, market the program to couples at hunger centers, teach 18 classes, and attend the final data collection session.  Hours total 481 per contract agency, totaling $17,932 per agency.  Teachers� pay was set by Cleveland Public Schools Family Life De-partment to be $37.28 per hour, including fringe benefits, totaling $53,796 for teachers.

Classes will be held at three of nine neighborhood centers, costing a total of $7,224.  The neighborhood centers provide programs for the community such as Head Start, Help Me Grow, day care, and hunger centers.  We have contracted with University Settlement House for six months, for rooms for three consecutive couple�s skills classes and follow-up (21 meetings) for $415.  A meal will be provided before class, costing, $567.  Two certified child care workers for infants and other children the couples may bring, cost $1426, for a total of $2,408.  We plan to duplicate this arrangement at two additional locations, bringing costs for the room, meal and child care to $2,408.  We are confident we can gain the support of two of the other nine neighborhood centers.

Individual consultant costs are $13,800.  The following consultants will assist in adapting the Healthy Family Survival Skills curriculum to poor African American couples.  George Doub created Healthy Family Survival Skills and Nigel Vann created Curriculum for Young Fathers.  Kwa David Whitaker and Jorethia L. Chuck, an African American couple, are highly qualified professionals who know the African American culture well.  An indigenous couple, to be named, will be recommended by a neighborhood center because they are verbal, insightful, and interested in the couple�s relationships.  Each consultant brings an important perspective about poor, African American culture.  Please see their references.

Cameron Camp, Ph.D. is offering pro bono services as Research Advisor.

h.  Other expenses cost $19,948, and include rent, telephone, voice mail, and internet hookup, necessary for running an office, totaling $8,041.  Printing, $1,470 will be used create bro-chures to contact couples in the neighborhood centers and agencies.  Bus vouchers, for 682 round trips at $6 per trip, $4,092, will be provided for couples to come to classes.

Tuition for Healthy Family Survival Skills is necessary to train teachers.  Teachers must be personally trained because they cannot learn to teach the course from a manual.  Drs. Bender and Charlick must attend training because they are responsible for adapting the course to the project populations.  Tuition is $700 for each of eight trainers, totaling $5,600.

 Literature Cited:

Ackerman, B. P., D�Eramo, K S., Umylny, L., Schultz. D., and Izard, C. E.  (2001).  Family structure and the externalizing behavior of children from economically disadvantaged families, Journal of Family Psychology. 15, 288-300.
Brooks-Gunn, J., Guo, G., and Furstenberg, F. (1993).  Who drops out of and who continues be-yond high school?  A 20-year follow-up of Black urban youth, Journal of research on adolescence, 3(3), 271-294.
Creighton, F. and Doub, G. (1999).  Family wellness instructor manual. Scotts Valley, CA:  Family Wellness Associates.
Daly, M., and Wilson, M.  (1985).  Child abuse and other risks of not living with both parents," Ethology & Sociobiology, 5(4) 197-210.
Editor. (February 8, 2002)  "The chronic crisis," The Plain Dealer.
Giblin, P., Sprenkle, D.H., Sheehan, Rl  (1985).  Enrichment outcome research:  A meta-analysis of premarital, marital, and family interventions.  Journal of Marital and Family Thrapy,  11, 257-271.
Jensen, E.  (1998).  Teaching With the Brain in Mind.  Alexandria, VA:  Association for Supervi-sion and Curriculum Development.
Markman, H., Stanley, S., & Blumberg, S.L. (1994).  Fignting for your marriage.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.
McEnery, R., Simakis, S., and Spector, H.  (February 5, 2002)  "Cleveland ranks low on care of infants" The Plain Dealer.
McLanahan, S. (1997).  Parent absence of poverty:  Which matters more?  In Duncan, G. J., Brooks-Gunn, J. (Eds.), Consequences of Growing Up Poor. (pp. 35-48).  New York:  Russell Sage Foundation.
McLanahan, S. (2001).  Life without father:  What happens to the children? Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Princeton University.
McLananan, S., Garfinkel, I., and Mincy, R.  (Nov. 2001).  Fragile families, welfare reform, and marriage,: Welfare Reform & Beyond, Policy Brief No. 10.
McLoyd, V. C. (1998) Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development, American Psycholo-gist.  53 (2), 185-204.
Padilla, Y.D., and Reichman, N. E. Low birth weight:  Do unwed fathers help?  Center for Re-search on Child Well-being, Working Paper #00-22-FF
Sabol, W. J. (2002).  Assessing the longer-run consequences of incarceration:  Effects on families and employment.  Prepared for 20th Annual Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.  New York, NY.
Sanders, M. (2002) Personal communication.
Waite, L.J. & Gallagher, M. (2000) The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.  New York:  Doubleday.
Wilson, James Q.  (2002).  The Marriage Problem:  How Our Culture Has Weakened Families.  New York:  Harper Collins.

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