CRITERION 1: OBJECTIVES AND NEED FOR ASSISTANCE

Item #1 - This project will contribute to achieving the goals and objectives
of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families legislation in the following ways:
The main focus of this project will address the primary Family Preservation
Services goal - to assure children�s safety within the home and preserve intact
families in which children have been maltreated, when the family�s needs can
be addressed effectively.   Most of this project�s funds will be used to refine,
implement, and evaluate the Relationship Enhancement (RE) marriage
skills-building program in English and Spanish as a Family Preservation Service
at nine locations in Orange County specifically targeting couples in the
Family Maintenance Non-Court program (FMNC) voluntary child welfare services.
 These are families where there has been an incident of child abuse or
neglect where the case worker and the family have decided that it is in
the child�s best interest for the child to remain with the caregivers while
the caregivers access services to address the family�s needs.  We
believe that providing the RE program to these couples will improve
the child welfare system outcomes for many of these families.

A secondary, but still important, focus of this project will address the
Family Support Services goal ? to prevent child maltreatment among
families at risk through the provision of supportive family services.   Using
a "Train the Trainer" approach we will build community capacity by setting
up low cost marriage skills classes at faith or community-based organizations
throughout all of O.C., enlisting community members as trainers, and
providing broad access for families at risk.

In year two of this grant we will open these marriage-skills training classes
to participants who are candidates for Time-Limited Family Reunification
to assist with the goal - to address the needs of families whose children
have been placed in foster care so that reunification may occur in a safe
and stable manner in accordance with the Adoption and Safe Families
Act of 1997.

Also in year two of this grant we will open these marriage-skills training
programs to adoptive families to address the Adoption Promotion and
Support Services goal ? to support adoptive families by providing support
services as necessary so that they can make a lifetime commitment to
their children.

Because of budget constraints, we will be limiting our child welfare
system outcome evaluations solely to those FMNC clients who participate
in our program as part of the Family Preservation Services goal area.

Item #2 ? Our vision is that we will offer the marriage education program
"Relationship Enhancement" (RE) at six to nine of the nine Family
Resource Centers (FRCs) in Orange County, targeting married parenting
couples and/or cohabitating parenting couples known to the child welfare
agency.  Courses will be available in both English and in Spanish.  Our
specific target will be these parenting couples participating in the Family
Maintenance Non-Court program (FMNC) of the child welfare system, as
described in the preceding section.

The FRCs are community-based service delivery platforms providing a
full range of family-related services to at-risk families in Orange County.
However there are no programs currently offered at any of the FRCs
dealing focused specifically on the marriage or co-parenting relationship.

The RE Program is a marriage skills-training educational program, backed
up by extensive research, that demonstrates its effectiveness across a
broad range of marital situations, including marriages in which there is a
high degree of conflict, as is common in households where child maltreatment
occurs.  No similar skill-based educational program is readily available to the
residents of Orange County.

In addition, we will be using a "Train the Trainer" approach to make the RE
program available, at a very low cost, to any faith-based or community-based
organization that wishes to offer the program in its environment.   No similar
"Train the Trainer" opportunities for marriage skill-building courses are readily
available within Orange County.

In order to facilitate greater participation in the courses, we will provide child
care for the children of the participants during class sessions.  We will also
use this child care opportunity to offer age-appropriate training to the children
of the participants a subset of the RE skills that their parents are learning ? an
approach that will, in many circumstances, reinforce and "remind" the parents
to use their newly developed skills as well.

Because of space restrictions, the above description presented only a general
overview of some of the components of our project.  A more thorough
description of our project is contained in the project�s logic model in Exhibit A.
 The logic model illustrates how this project�s inputs and activities combine to
create a set of clearly defined, measurable short-term outcomes, which cause
six specific intermediate outcomes which, in turn, generate four long-term outcomes.

Item #3  The goals of this project are: 1) to successfully implement the
marriage skills-building course called Relationship Enhancement (RE) into
the child welfare system of O.C., specifically targeting the English-speaking
and Spanish-speaking FMNC population, 2) to implement RE in a way that
benefits these families and clearly demonstrates the effectiveness and benefits
of this intervention for these families, and 3) to implement RE in such a way that
this program can be expanded to serve other O.C. families and 4) can be
replicated in other child welfare systems.

Exhibit B presents a list of sixteen specific measurable objectives or target
outcomes we have for this project.  On the left side of Exhibit B is a list of six
short-term objectives, six intermediate objectives, and four long-term objectives,
all derived from the logic model.  On the right side of Exhibit B are very specific
ways that each of those sixteen objectives will be able to be measured and
evaluated as part of this project.  The four most important of these are labeled
as "Long-Term Outcomes", namely that this project will create: 1) more stable
family environments for at least 20% of these high-risk families, versus the
comparison group; 2) improved family functioning in at least 20% of the RE-trained
families; 3) shorter lengths of stay in the child welfare system for RE-trained
FMNC families; and 4) increased child safety by reduced incidence of recurring
child abuse and neglect among RE-trained families.  The logic model and the
rest of the objectives listed in Exhibit B show the specific steps we will take
along the way to reach those long-term objectives.

Item #4 ? The context of this project can be described as follows:  Geographic
Location: The RE classes will take place at FRCs serving Anaheim, Costa Mesa,
Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Orange, Santa Ana, Stanton and
Westminster.   These nine cities have a combined population of 1.5 million
people (53% of the entire county�s population) within a combined geography
of only 197 square miles.  These nine cities also contain 70.6% of the individuals
who live below the poverty line in Orange County.  These nine cities contain
56% of the county�s population of children and in 2002 accounted for 67%
of the substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect within Orange County.
Characteristics of the community:  As the table below indicates, while Latinos
make up 30.8% of Orange County�s total population, they account for 42.6%
of the population of the nine cities served by the FRCs and 51.2% of the
children within Orange County who are affected by reports of child abuse
and neglect.  It is therefore critical that we offer the RE marriage skills-building
program in both Spanish and English.  This project will represent the first
large-scale implementation of any research-based marriage skills-building
program in the United States in the Spanish language.

Ethnic Breakdowns
 Orange County  Nine Cities  Children Affected by
 As a Whole Served by FRCs Child Abuse Reports
 Number Percent Number  Percent Number  Percent
Caucasian 1,458,978 51.3% 586,310 38.8% 10,482 38.0%
Latino  875,579 30.8% 643,271 42.6% 14,133 51.2%
Asian 383,810 13.5% 215,359 14.3% 1,098 4.0%
Black 42,639 1.5% 22,775 1.5% 1,035 3.8%
All Other 85,283 3.0% 42,224 2.8% 836 3.0%
Total 2,846,289 100.0% 1,509,939 100.0% 27,584 100.0%

Magnitude/severity of problem: Child abuse is a severe social concern
in the state of California, and in Southern California in particular.  In 2002,
114,593 children were affected by substantiated reports of child abuse
and neglect within the fifty-eight counties that make up California.  Orange
County and the four counties immediately adjacent to Orange County
(Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego) had a higher
number of substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect than the
other 53 counties in the state combined, with a combined total of 65,292
substantiated reports for these five contiguous Southern California counties.
 Orange County alone had 9,712 substantiated reports in 2002, which
accounted for 8.5% of the total reports for the state of California, and over 1%
of the reports for the entire United States of America.  The ratio of substantiated
reports to child population in Orange County was 12.3 per thousand children
in 2002, which is slightly higher than the 12.1 figure for the state of California a whole.

The following table provides a breakout of the 27,584 reports (both substantiated
and unsubstantiated) of child abuse in Orange County for 2002 by the type
of abuse and age of child.

BREAKOUT OF CHILD ABUSE IN OC ? 2002

Type of Abuse
Sexual 5102 18.5%
Physical 8659 31.4%
Severe Neglect 843 3.1%
General Neglect 11635 42.2%
Emotional 410 1.5%
Exploitation 33 0.1%
Caretaker Absence / Incap. 902 3.3%
Total 27584 100.0%

Age
Less than 1 year 1397 5.1%
1 to 3 4871 17.7%
4 to 7 7321 26.5%
8 to 12 8181 29.7%
13 to 18 5729 20.8%
Unknown 85 0.3%
Total 27584 100.0%

Source: Child Abuse Registry - Statistical Report for 2002 From
website: http://www.oc.ca.gov/ssa/CFSStats/2002/Quarterly/2002AnnualRpt.htm

Item #5 - Our primary target population consists of married parenting
couples and cohabitating parenting couples who are participants in the
FMNC Program within the child welfare system of O.C.

Our intention is to provide marriage skills training to this target
population that will teach them the specific skills needed to:

- Deal with the stresses and pressures which are a normal part of everyday life;
- Resolve the issues which create marital tensions;
- Improve their everyday communications with each other;
- Resolve conflict in a cooperative and supportive manner.

Item #6 - The benefits the clients will derive include:

1) Better ability for each party to express himself or herself with
a partner and with other people with whom they come into contact;
2) Better ability for each party to understand the other and other
people with whom they come into contact;
3) Increased skills in joint problem solving;
4) Increased ability to handle and resolve conflicts in the relationship,
which will lead to reduced levels of conflict;
5) More intimacy and higher levels of marital satisfaction among the participants;
6) A more peaceful, stable, lower-stressed home environment
for the children involved;
7) As a result of all of the above, we believe that these marriage skills
courses will lead to reduced incidences of child abuse and neglect
in the homes of the participants.

We anticipate that we will provide these marriage skill-building classes
to a total of 1,200 couples over the three-year period of this grant ? 300
couples in the first year, 450 couples in the second year, and 450 couples
in the third year.  The number of couples to be served in the second and
third year were calculated based upon the following assumptions: seven
classes per month, an eight-couple class size and a two-thirds class fill rate.
The same assumptions were used for the first year, adjusting for the project�s
initial ramp-up.

Item # 7 - Communicating well with one�s partner is nearly always one of
the top criteria couples offer when describing what is necessary for a
satisfying and stable marriage.  Couple communication has been the most
extensively studied dynamic of couple relationships (Halford, Markman,
Stanley & Kline, 2002).  Over the last twenty years university researchers
and therapists have worked collectively to identify the major causes of
relationship distress and divorce.  The differences between couples whose
marriages succeed from those which fail lie largely in how couples manage
conflict (Coffin, 2002) and the stressful demands which couples face
throughout marriage and family life.  Based on this research, a wide variety
of relationship education programs for couples have evolved (Berger & Hannah,
1998).  The most effective programs focus on skill training in communication
and conflict management.  Couples who complete relationship-strengthening
programs rate the skill training as the most valuable component (Stanley,
Markman, Prado, Tonelli & Peters, 2001).  Skills common to many of these
programs teach couples to avoid destructive communication patterns, manage
conflict more effectively, develop constructive problem solving approaches,
and focus attention on positive expressions of affection (Halford, et al., 2002).
The Relationship Enhancement Program focuses on all of these relationship
strengthening skills and also teaches couples the specific skill of empathic
listening and responding.

Controlled evidence-based research of relationship strengthening skills-based
programs have revealed their effectiveness in both reversing already
established patterns of negative couple interaction and in helping new couples
to prevent major relationship distress from evolving (Halford, et al., 2002).
As Coffin (2002) notes, higher risk couples are among those program participants
who have been found to benefit the most.  One of the advantages of relationship
strengthening programs is their capacity to reach more people.  Unlike therapy,
which can impact only small numbers of couples, relationship-strengthening
programs lend themselves well to working with groups of couples in classroom
settings.  Recognizing the need to bring relationship skills to more couples in need,
the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists recently published
a chapter on the effectiveness of relationship education (Halford, et al., 2002).
This chapter reviews a variety of successfully evaluated programs and offers
several guidelines for best practices in relationship strengthening programs.
We will identify specifically how this project addresses each of those recommendations.

#1 - Reach out to underserved populations, low income and minority couples:
As was indicated in Item #4, the cities that the FRCs serve contain 70.6% of Orange
County�s poor population, 73% of its Latino population, and account for 67% of the
county�s substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect.

#2 - Offer relationship strengthening efforts at critical points in the relationship:
Couples� involvement with Child Protective Services provides a critical opportunity to
create more positive parenting practices and strengthen the adults� own relationship dynamics.

#3 - Educate couples on relationship aggression: Co-occurrence
of domestic aggression and child abuse is common, ranging from 30-60% of
all child abuse reports (Department of Health and Human Services, 2003).
To effectively address the health and safety of children within their own
homes necessitates strengthening how their parents manage their own
conflicts and solve problems.

#4 - Offer programs at locations which are easily accessible to
couples: The FRC�s will serve as central locations for bringing members
of the community to the RE programs to be offered.

#5 - Utilize lay leaders and clergy as educators since research has shown they are equally as effective as professionals: This project will train university students, members of faith-based organizations and interested professionals in the community as RE workshop educators and coaches.  Furthermore, within the first year of the grant we will have at least one current RE educator certified to train future workshop educators and coaches, and thus create within Orange County the capacity to continue to train future cohorts of RE educators.

#6 - Apply best evidence based practices to evaluate effectiveness of programs offered: Based on previous research on relationship strengthening and child abuse intervention, this demonstration project incorporates both process and summative assessment tools to provide evidence of its success and areas for improvement to better generalize this program as needed to other communities.

Item #8 - The Orange County Marriage Initiative was begun in July of 2002 with the incorporation of the Orange County Marriage Resource Center (OCMRC).  Since then, Associates of the OCMRC, especially its executive director, have had frequent contact with various leaders and participants of the national marriage movement, in order to be certain that we were implementing a "best practices" approach to marriage strengthening in our community.  Orange County was the first community in the country to develop an internet-based website which acts as an electronic clearinghouse of all known marriage resources in a community - the Community Marriage Resource Center Model.  This approach has generated considerable interest within the national marriage movement.  In June of 2003, the executive director of the OCMRC had an opportunity to meet leaders of other nationally known community marriage initiatives, as a co-presenter at two separate Conferences which discussed this topic.

Following is a list and description of portions of the proposed model and how those portions have been implemented.  One of the unique features of the proposed model is the number of "best practices" that will be combined in one small geographical area.

- Oklahoma.  We are replicating Oklahoma�s approach of attempting to develop a large number of marriage educators within a community.  As of June of 2003, Oklahoma had trained over 770 residents to become Authorized Instructors of Oklahoma�s chosen product (PREP); these instructors have trained over 30,000 people.  Our web-based electronic clearinghouse of marriage resources (www.OCMarriage.org) means that we will not have to train nearly as many Instructors as Oklahoma has trained.

- Chattanooga, Tennessee.  We are replicating Chattanooga�s (First Things First) extremely successful model of involving multiple segments of a community involved in the local marriage initiative and their highly effective use of volunteers.

- Washington State.  We are replicating Families Northwest�s model of sharing marriage resources and programs between local churches.  Under this model, Instructors and courses offered by one church can be accessed by members of nearby churches as well as by other community members.  The OCMarriage.org website gives real power to this concept.

- Marriage Savers.  We are using Mike McManus� Marriage Savers approach of partnering with the faith-based community in this initiative.

-Alabama.  We are replicating Alabama�s approach of partnering with local universities.

- Washington D.C.  Our model of using volunteer coaches to implement the RE program is similar to the approach used in Washington D.C. with RE; however our number of participants will be much higher;

- Missouri and Northern California.  Our model of offering ongoing practice groups has been used successfully in individual churches in Missouri and Northern California.

- Seattle, Washington.  Our model of developing prospective new instructors through a process of program participation, training in coaching, coaching, and instructor training has proved to be successful in a church in Seattle.

Item #9 - Framework: Recent research has indicated that in a large number of instances, child abuse occurs in a family when the family�s stresses and pressures overwhelm the ability of the parents involved to deal with these pressures.  The family stress model describes family violence as an outgrowth of parents� marital tensions spilling over to their parenting of distressed children, whose behavior is likely externalizing these marital tensions (Appel and Holden, 1998).  The communications model of family violence sees this violence as an indication of poor parental communication, and situations where conflict negotiation skills focus on power, control and dominance rather than cooperation and support (Ade-Ridder and Jones, 1996).  A recent review of the literature (Ginsberg, 2002) exploring the causes of child abuse found that "the literature defines this form of maltreatment as the result of a transactional process involving parents, children and the multiple contexts in which they are embedded (Belsky, 1993).  It is a societal problem that arises out of the many stressful and competing forces with which we all have to cope.  Howes, Cicchetti, Toth and Rogosh (2000) believe that maltreating families might best be characterized as having problems dealing with negative emotions resulting in family affective dysregulation.  They go on to say that such families can be more chaotic and less effective in working together to achieve common goals that foster competence and a healthy sense of self."

Program Structure: The RE program we propose to implement is one of the most heavily researched marriage-skills training programs available to deal with these types of issues.  RE has been shown repeatedly to be highly effective in being able to improve communication and conflict resolution skills for its participants.  Tying this directly in to the research on child abuse referenced above we believe:

1) Since Belsky defines this form of child maltreatment as the result of a transaction process involving parents, children and the multiple contexts in which they are imbedded, the programs that we will implement will be highly effective through teaching the parents a new way to relate to and interact with each other and with their children;

2) Since the child abuse and neglect is deemed a "societal problem that arises out of the many stressful and competing forces with which we all have to cope", the RE program will be able to help the situation by teaching the couples new ways to solve their problems and cope with the "many stressful and competing forces".

3) RE will also be able to help many of the couples who are "having problems dealing with negative emotions resulting in family affective dysregulation" by giving them new tools to deal with their negative emotions;

4) Since these families can be "more chaotic and less effective in working together to achieve common goals", RE can teach them the skills they need to work together and achieve common goals (specifically Discussion / Negotiation and Problem / Conflict Resolution Skills).

This approach is also supported by family systems theory, which indicates that a change in any part of a family system will affect all parts of the family system.  With this project we are intervening in two specific places in the family system with complementary, mutually reinforcing interventions.  Our primary intervention is at the married couple level, which is where the bulk of the resources in this project will be expended.  This will change both the inter-couple interactions as well as the interactions between the parents and the children.  Our secondary intervention of providing communications skills training to the children of these parents at the same time that the parents are receiving their skills-building training, will reinforce the change of behavior at the inter-parent level as well as provide additional impetus for a change in interaction patterns between the parents and the children.

Item #10 ? The following table shows the links between the program�s activities and its intended outcomes.
Activities Outcomes
Classes offered at the FRCs in English & Spanish
Linkages to the CWS case workers
Child Care at the courses
Provide lunches on full-day sessions 1,200 couples participating in RE at the FRCs by the end of Year 3 (300 year 1; 450 year 2, 450 year 3)
RE Program delivered to married or cohabitation parenting couples in CWS Increased marital satisfaction
Increased conflict resolution skills
Increased communication skills
Reduced child abuse risk factors
Children�s version of RE available for children of program participants Reinforcing and strengthening of the skills in the parents
Weekly practice sessions available as "booster sessions" to former participants Reinforcing and strengthening of the skills of the participants
RE Program Leader Trainer Certification Process Two Certified RE Program Supervisors by Year 2
"Train the Trainer" approach At least twenty community RE Program Leaders in O.C. by the end of Year 3
Entire Project
 Increased percentage of families, among those who participate in this program, who are deemed fit to exit the FMNC program within six months
Entire Project
 Reduced percentage of families, among those who participate in this program, who have recurrences of abuse or neglect
Entire Project
 Reduced percentages of families, among those who participate in this program, who re-enter the CWS system after exiting it

Item #11 - This proposed project is highly innovative and will contribute to increased knowledge of the problems, issues, and effective strategies and practices in the field in the following ways:

1) This is the first Spanish-speaking large-scale marriage skills training using an evidenced-based program that has been performed in the United States. We state this based upon both a review of the literature and upon interviews with program developers with the three marriage skills training programs that have a substantive body of research showing their effectiveness.  The results of these interviews are: For RE ? While the program material was translated into Spanish for use in Peru several years ago, and is available for our use, the RE program developers are not aware of this course having been offered anywhere in Spanish in the United States; for CC ? Total U.S. sales of the Spanish product during the five years that it has been available in Spanish has been less than 150 copies; for PREP - The Spanish version of PREP is under development and is targeted to become available by the end of the summer of this year.

2) The simultaneous provision of communication skills training to the children of the couples participating in the marriage skills-training course as a way to reinforce the use of skills by the parents is highly innovative and, we believe, has the potential to greatly increase the positive outcomes from this project.  While this approach is commonly followed in family therapy environments, we are aware of no other community marriage education programs that have created a situation in which the children have the opportunity to be included as positive change agents for their parents.  This program, focused on clients of the child welfare system, is one of the few community marriage programs that is focused exclusively on married or cohabitating parenting couples, which makes this program the ideal venue for this innovation to be implemented and evaluated.

3) This is the first community-organizing approach that we are aware of that has used a locally-based "Train the Trainer" approach for one of these research-based marriage skills-building programs.  This will allow us in a cost-effective manner to accelerate the process of producing Marriage Educators in the community.

4) This is the first large scale implementation of a marriage education program in the community that teams up volunteer coaches from the University and faith-based environments to facilitate education in a community setting.

5) Booster sessions ? availability of weekly practice groups.  In our opinion, the need for this is critical from a skills retention and reinforcement standpoint.  The need for this is widely acknowledged in the literature, but this service is not generally available in any community in the country of which we are aware.  We will be the first location in the country to be implementing this on a community-wide scale.

6) This is the first community to implement an electronic internet-based Community Marriage Resource Center approach which will allow the availability of these classes to be made known to any family which is at risk.

Item #12 - There is a nearly 100 percent probability that this project would yield findings and results that will directly and immediately contribute to and promote evidence-based practices.  We believe that we will be able to provide full or partial answers to the following questions.

1) Can Marriage Education be used as an effective large-scale intervention in family situations where child abuse has occurred or is at risk? In English-speaking households? In Spanish-speaking households?

2) If there are adjustments that need to be made to RE to enable it to be effective in the Spanish-speaking environment, what adjustments will need to be made?

3) Can teaching complementary communication skills to the children of parents in the courses increase the positive impact that the parents� course will have upon the resulting family dynamics?

4) What is the effectiveness and impact of having "booster sessions" or "practice sessions" available in the community?

5) Which scheduling format, among those which we will offer will be most effective, both in terms of generating highest program completion rates and in generating best program outcomes for the participants?

6) Will RE be shown to as effective in Spanish-speaking households as it has been shown to be in English-speaking households, where all of the previous research has been conducted?

Item #13 ? This project will have multiple benefits to multiple other organizations, including:

Use to other agencies: The most immediate beneficiaries from this project, outside the O.C. child welfare system, will be other child welfare agencies in Southern California.  Since the RE Program Leadership training we will conduct will be open to anybody who wants to participate, this program will be able to be easily replicated within the four adjacent counties almost immediately.  And since this five county area accounts for 6.7% of the entire country�s population, the positive impact will be quite substantial.
Benefit to national policies/practice: Our most obvious contribution will be in the area of Spanish-language skill-based marriage education.  Since most implementations of these skill-based marriage education programs to date have focused nearly exclusively on the English-speaking population, what we learn about implementing these programs in a Latino population should be a contribution to national policies and practice for minority populations.

Agencies, policies, research: In previous paragraphs we described multiple ways in which this project is highly innovative including:1) the first large-scale Spanish-language implementation of a marriage skills-building course, 2) the simultaneous provision of a communication skills training to the children while the parents are receiving skills-building training, 3) the first implementation of a locally-based "Train the Trainer approach" to marriage education, 4) the first approach to combine involvement from both the faith-based and university environments, 5) the first implementation of organized practice sessions as booster sessions on a community-wide level, 6) the first attempt to measure the relative effectiveness of multiple scheduling formats, and 7) the first implementation of an internet-based clearinghouse for all marriage-related resources in a community.  Every innovation listed above is something which, if successful, can be easily replicated elsewhere, and so will assist other agencies and organizations in developing services and programs.  As such, it also has the potential to significantly benefit national policy and practice.  In addition, since we are paving new ground in so many areas with this project, we will undoubtedly uncover multiple areas of potential new research in the areas we will be exploring.

Item #14 - This proposed project has the potential for implementation in a wide variety of child welfare system settings.  There are several characteristics of the approach that we are using that will ensure its ability to be replicated:

1) We are using a standard marriage education program, RE, and components are also standardized;
2) Modifications and enhancements to the RE programs will be fully documented and will be done in conjunction with the program developers;
3) The program documentation will be built-in as a natural and necessary feature of our project since we are implementing a program using multiple instructors at up to nine different sites.  Because of the high numbers of people involved, standardization and documentation of practices will be an absolute requirement for a successful project implementation.  Agencies that follow after us will be able to benefit from these program documentations.
4) A written report will be made at the conclusion of each project year.  Reports will present and evaluate implementation strategies.
Specific documentation which will be developed includes: standard RE Program Instructors Manual plus revisions and schedule changes we make for this project, written instructions for the coaches, teaching instructions for the children�s programs, specific administration instructions for all of the evaluation instruments used, and detailed evaluation procedures.

CRITERION 2: APPROACH

Item #1 - Our plan of action has the following overarching principles: 1) Begin the "Train the Trainer" training process immediately; 2) We will initially pilot the RE program with only two FRCs, working with one "unit" of about ten FMNC social workers, before expanding the program system-wide; 3) The initial pilot RE programs will be over-staffed and their outcome measurements immediately and thoroughly analyzed, to make sure we are providing the best possible program and obtaining the greatest possible knowledge from these pilot programs; 5) In order to reduce the risk level of the project and increase the probability of its success, programs will be implemented in English before they are implemented in Spanish; 5) We will make sure we have the RE couples program operating smoothly before we begin offering the RE children�s program; 6) We will follow a conservative approach to Program Leaders Training, with each new Program Leader participating in the RE Program first as a participant and then as a Coach before receiving formal RE Program Leadership Training.  This will ensure the highest possible quality of Program Leaders.

Fortunately we have all of the resources already in place so that we can begin implementing the program as soon as this grant is approved.  A detailed project implementation plan is included as Exhibit C

Item #2 ? The roles and responsibilities for the three main participants in this project will be:
1) Primary applicant ? County of Orange Social Services Agency (SSA), through their Families and Communities Together (FaCT) program, will supply the Project Director who will provide complete oversight to the project.  An experienced county employee with SSA�s Children and Family Services Division, Jim Deming, is a Senior Social Services Supervisor and has already been tentatively selected for this position.  He will ensure that all components of the proposal are properly attended to and appropriate timelines are maintained.  He will attend all required Children�s Bureau meetings and ensure the completion and timely submission of all required reports.   SSA will provide the location to hold the meetings at Family Resource Centers (FRCs), and the FRC will provide the on-site administrative support (data entry of client and outcome information) and referrals of married and co-parenting couples, particularly those in the Family Maintenance Non-Court system to the courses.  SSA will cooperate fully in all parts of the evaluation process.

2) Catholic Charities of Orange County, Inc. (CCOC), an experienced marriage educator partner ? Will provide its own Project Manager to manage the project from its perspective.  Will provide the actual marriage education skills-building RE Programs at the FRCs.  CCOC will hire and train the RE Program Leaders and provide RE Program Leadership to other interested parties under the guidelines described in Criterion 3, Item 6.   CCOC will cooperate fully in all parts of the evaluation process, including class registration and outcome information.

3) Dr. Carrie Petrucci, Evaluator ? Will manage and provide all of the evaluation activities and functions described in this proposal.
Item #3 - Since the early 1970�s, over twenty outcome studies have identified the positive effects of RE on a range of relationship behaviors and individual attitudes (c.f. Accordino & Guerney, 2001).  The most effective skills based programs include communication, conflict skills, problem solving, and expressing positive affection (Halford, et. al., 2002). RE includes all of these elements plus empathic listening and expressive speaking skills.
 Exhibit D shows the results of an award-winning research study, Giblin, Sprenkle and Sheehan (1985) which analyzed eighty-five studies of 3,866 couples, representing participants from twenty-two different relationship strengthening programs.  A couples-version of RE was compared against fifteen other programs for married couples while a families-version of RE was compared against four other programs for families.  The results for the RE programs far surpassed the results of any of the other programs in both categories.   The couples-version of RE generated an effect size of .963, which was nearly 3 times the .356 average effect size of the other 15 couples programs.  Other well-known couples programs such as Couple Communication and Marriage Encounter generated effect sizes of .437 and .416, respectively.  The family version of RE generated an effect size of .961, which was 3 _ times the .275 average effect size of the four other family programs.   RE was found to generate the greatest positive effects for the mostly highly distressed couples, a finding which is particularly relevant to this project, considering the dynamics of families where abuse is typically present.
RE has also been demonstrated to be effective in a variety of settings and with a broader range of couples than any other relationship-strengthening program.  In addition to premarital couples and married couples at all stages of the marriage life cycle, RE has been effectively offered to couples facing unique stressors such as alcohol abuse (Waldo & Guerney, 1983) and some types of mental illness (Zahniser & Falk, 1993) .  Moreover, Waldo (1988) has found RE effective in group treatment of male abusers.
 Based on the evidence presented, RE appears to be the best match for parenting couples currently addressing substantiated reports of child abuse. RE has been found to be the most effective with distressed couples facing demanding family stressors including domestic violence. Using appropriate assessment tools, we expect to find that RE is the most effective with the families we will serve.
Item #4 ? We believe that the design of our entire, integrated program is feasible and particularly appropriate to address the needs of the target population of FMNC for the following reasons:  FaCT and Catholic Charities of Orange County (CCOC) have collaborated on previous projects and administrative policies and procedures of each organization are familiar terrain. We are using an established marriage-strengthening program shown to be effective with a broad range of clients.  The program will be offered at local community centers, the FRC�s, which have already demonstrated appeal to residents in the local community.  Caseworker involvement with all child welfare cases referred to the program will encourage increased participation, less drop-out, and more opportunities for assessment of program impact.  All assessment tools will be screened with the aid of caseworkers to focus on practice applications as well as outcome measures of the program.  The program will offer childcare for parenting couples.  During eight hour weekend sessions, children with parents� permission will be taught and practice some of the major concepts of the RE program while in childcare.  This is expected to increase the number of families who experience long-term constructive changes within the family system as a whole.  All couples will be pre-screened by their caseworker for problematic histories of, and current potential for, domestic abuse. No child welfare parenting couples with a history of domestic abuse will be included in the RE program until a domestic violence program has been completed and he/she has been cleared by their caseworker.
The program will use pre-, post- and follow-up assessments including data from the parenting couple, the caseworker and workshop providers/coaches.  Information gathered from all these individuals will be continuously examined to ensure the program is meeting the needs of the parenting couples, their children and those professionals involved in all aspects of service delivery.  The program will implement booster sessions, to encourage integration of RE skills into their relationship dynamic.
Item #5 - In order to make maximum use of limited resources, the evaluation process will emphasize coordination and collaboration between child welfare staff at all levels, FRC staff, RE Program staff, and the evaluator, so that the evaluation infrastructure can be integrated into existing day-to-day operations to the extent possible.  The evaluator for this project has an established history of successful research activity and specifically practice-based program evaluation in child welfare and other government agencies using this strategy.
The plan for documenting project activities and results will incorporate existing computerized systems in the FRC�s and existing FRC administrative and clerical staff, as well as integration of assessment tools administered by child welfare staff.  In 1995 an external program evaluator created a database for FaCT that each SSA-funded FRC uses to input client information.  The database is relied upon to assist in monitoring the progress and outcomes of all of the various programs and services offered at each site, as well as to create monthly, quarterly and annual reports.  This existing FRC database will be modified to accommodate the RE project activities and the measurable outcome data obtained from the RE program.  Data will be processed by data entry staff at each FRC and findings disseminated in report form on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis, as is done with all other FRC programs.
A comparison group of 100 or more clients will also be pursued, using the approved informed consent and confidentiality procedures as determined by SSA and internal review board approval.  Due to limited resources, administration of the evaluation pre-tests to this comparison group will be dependent upon existing staff�s willingness to do so.  To solicit child welfare worker�s cooperation, their input for gathering a comparison group will be elicited immediately upon grant award.  Two possible strategies for a comparison group will be presented to them.  The first is: for a one to three month period (dependent upon desired sample size), all children�s social workers will be asked to administer an abbreviated version of the pre-test package along with their standard child welfare assessments to all FMNC families that they visit during that period.  This across-the-board implementation strategy reduces the possibility of eligible families being left out and is straight-forward to carry out.  The pre-test package would contain key eligibility criteria so that the evaluation staff could later identify clients for one or more appropriate comparison groups.  A second strategy would be to have all children�s social workers administer an abbreviated pre-test package only to new FMNC referrals over a longer time period, perhaps 6 months to 1 year.  This strategy would create a comparison group that may be more similar to the RE Program clients in terms of amount of time as an FMNC family, however, a limitation is that child welfare workers must remember to administer the abbreviated pre-test to only one category of their clients over a longer time period.  Regardless of the strategy that is used, a sizeable comparison group is anticipated, which will incorporate a quasi-experimental design approach with limited evaluation resources.
To encourage client involvement in the re-administration of the pre-tests at the follow-up time periods, incentive coupons, most likely one $10 coupon to a local grocery store per re-administration, have been included in the budget.
Item #6) The following data will be collected from couples who participate in the RE Program:
A) Information on individuals and families would include key demographic and process variables which are already in the clients� files. This data will be transcribed to a raw data form developed by the evaluator. These may include but not be limited to: client demographics such as age, race, ethnicity, and family size; prior reported history of family violence (substantiated abuse incident and history of prior CPS involvement); type of abuse and characteristics of the current incident; history of substance abuse; risk assessment scores; key risk and protective factors as indicated in the file; and current support services being rendered.
B) The types of RE program services that each of the couples access including: which specific RE course they participated in, taught by which RE Program Leader, what their attendance record was during the course, the number of their children (if any) that participated in the RE children�s program, and how many practice sessions they participated in both during and after their RE course.
C) The types and nature of needs identified and met would be captured by administering several specific instruments as pretests (to identify the nature of the couples� needs) and post-tests as well as three month and twelve month follow-ups (to identify how well those needs were met).  The instruments will measure the couples� self-reported performance in the areas of communication skills, conflict resolution skills, levels of marital satisfaction, and presence of child abuse risk factors such as stability of the family environment and level of family functioning.  Please refer to Exhibit B ? for a listing of which instrument will be used to measure each of the above characteristics.  All of the instruments that we will be utilizing, except for one, have been published in social work, family studies or related social science research journals and their reliability and validity have been established.  The one exception to this is a single instrument, "Landrum�s Defective Communication Tools", which we will be validating as part of this project.  Any measures not published currently in Spanish will be back-translated for use in this project.
D) Three and 12-month follow-up data will be obtained by phone and/or mail to client homes. Clients will be phoned and incentive gift coupons will be offered for all returned and completed measures to increase return rates.
E) At one year and two-year follow-ups, the evaluator will also gather data about discharge or return to the child welfare system through a child welfare case file review.
For comparison group families, the following information will be pursued:
A) Demographic and process variables from the client file as previously identified for the RE Program families;
B) An abbreviated pre-test package agreed upon as feasible by child welfare staff;
C) At one-year follow-up, an abbreviated post-test package will be obtained by phone and/or mail to client homes.  To increase return rates, clients will be phoned and incentive gift coupons will be offered for all returned and completed measures.
D) At one-year and two-year follow-up, discharge or return to the child welfare system will be recorded.
Informed consent and IRB Approval:  The evaluation will be processed through the Internal Review Board at California State University at Long Beach where the evaluator is employed.  Informed consent will be obtained by RE program staff using the procedures set forth by the IRB as well as standard FRC/child welfare practice.  Couples participating in the RE Program will be presented with an informed consent form describing the purposes of this project and the reasons for the request for their participation in the program's evaluation. The informed consent will be described orally to all participants when they are handed the packet. It will be made clear their participation in the RE program is not contingent on their participation in the evaluation.  All data will be submitted to the evaluator anonymously, through the use of an assigned unique number rather than client names.  This unique number will ensure client confidentiality as well as allow data to be matched across multiple sources (parenting couple, child/ren, caseworker, and case file) and at all data collection points (pre, post, three and twelve month follow-ups).
Item #7 - Child abuse often occurs within a family where the adult couple is experiencing significant distress (Jones, Gross & Becker, 2002). Strains between the couple are seen as "spilling over" to the child/ren. Protecting the health and safety of the child/ren would likely be improved if in addition to child and parenting services, couple-skills be taught the parents. Distressed couples need to manage their stress by constructively handling their conflicts and effectively problem solving.  Since abuse may also result from attitudes of power and dominance, it would be expected that empathic listening and speaking (taught by RE) would benefit these families.
RE has been applied to client populations where abuse has occurred, making it the best choice for this program. RE has been successful with abusive military and civilian males (Waldo, 1986) and civilians (Waldo, 1988) measured by records of re-arrests. Twenty percent of the males in the control groups were rearrested within one year, while none of the RE participants were arrested again.
RE has been found to be effective with a wide age range of couples, from varied cultural groups, and socioeconomic levels (Accordino, et. al., 2001). Couples have reported greater understanding of one another, empathy, trust, intimacy, and reduction in anxiety for both husbands and wives, and problem solving. These effects have also been maintained in follow-up evaluations.
It is expected the improvements in couple dynamics noted by RE in previous research would hold as well for the families involved in this demonstration grant. It is anticipated that: (1) family conflicts will decrease and especially coercive domestic and parent-child interactions will be eliminated, (2) the frequency of negative exchanges will be decreased while their frequency of positive exchanges will be increased, (3) families will be aided and strengthened through caseworkers� closer examination of parent couple interpersonal communication and conflict patterns, and (4) process and summative evaluations of the RE skills programs will result in program revisions to better serve the needs of the participating CWS families.  For a specific example of RE�s effectiveness for one Orange County family, see Exhibit E.
Item #8 ? Effective linkages would be established and maintained in numerous ways.  At the local level, the collaborative structure of an FRC is comprised of multiple partner agencies, including public governmental entities, non-profit Community Based Organizations (CBO�s) and Faith Based Organizations (FBO�s).  These partners effectively engage in resource sharing and the cross-referral of clients to applicable services by nature of the FRC service delivery model, thus creating and maintaining effective community linkages.
Further county-wide exposure to the proposed project is ensured through broad-based county-wide participation in FaCT�s monthly Community Forum intended for FRC partner management staff, FBO/CBO managers and other key community stakeholders.  In addition, FaCT annually hosts the "Building Collaboratives and Mobilizing Communities" conference each spring that draws a variety of interests from the public, non-profit and private sectors providing yet another venue in which FRC based services are represented and the target population is addressed.
Inter-county and statewide exposure to this project will be achieved through collaborative efforts between Northern and Southern California Counties who are actively engaged in developing and establishing a formal Family Resource Association network within the state.  The "Power of Family Support Conference" was a successful state-wide convening which took place in March 2003 bridging Northern and Southern California Counties together to discuss trends, identify best practices and share resources.  This conference was well attended and included such dignitaries as the Director of the California Dept. of Social Services. Ongoing support and attendance at ACF sponsored conferences and workshops will continue to enhance national recognition of this project, as well.
Item #9 - There are two factors that combine to ensure this proposal will build local capacity and yield results that will extend beyond the period of federal financial assistance as part of the O.C. Social Service Agency�s ongoing programs.  The first is the "Train the Trainer" approach we are taking, which will mean that O.C. will be self-sufficient in its ability to continue to add new RE program leaders whenever they are needed.  The second is the similar length of this particular grant with the contract cycle at the FRC�s.  Each of the FRCs has its own Board of Directors, made up of members of the community in which it is situated.  Every three years, each FRC submits proposals to the county concerning which services it would like to have offered at its location.  The next three year cycle begins October 1, 2003 and ends September 30, 2006, which is the exact time period that this grant covers.   If this project yields the types of results that it is designed to yield, it is anticipated that all nine of the FRCs will incorporate this program into their ongoing program once this grant period has ended.  Therefore this is designed to become a long-term ongoing program in O.C.
Item #10 - All  FMNC child welfare case workers and appropriate FRC staff members will be encouraged to participate in a special one-day training session of the RE program, several of which will be scheduled exclusively for them at the beginning of this project�s implementation plan.  Once they participate in the program first hand, it is expected that they will be very eager to recommend this program to their clients.  The FMNC case workers will then be encouraged to refer all of their new clients who are married or cohabiting parenting couples to participate in the program within the first two months of entering the FMNC program, if the couples qualify to participate (couples must not be in an active domestic violence situation).   The case workers and FRC personnel will also be encouraged to integrate RE Program principles into their regular interactions with clients, especially those who have participated in the RE Program.  This will serve to reinforce the use of the RE skills by these couples.  In addition, the case workers and FRC personnel will be encouraged to remind and encourage their clients who have participated in the RE program to attend some of the available practice sessions which will serve as ongoing "booster sessions" for the use of these skills.  These are important functions because the more the couples practice their skills, the more they will benefit from the RE skills training, which will lead to quicker and more long-lasting family stabilizations.
There is expected to be an additional "spillover" benefit that will benefit the entire population of children and families that these RE-trained child welfare case workers serve.  Besides being an effective marriage skills-building program, RE has also been successfully implemented with public school teachers, residence hall counselors, drug abuse staff members, and county probation officers (c.f. Guerney, 1988 for a review). The study of county probation officers found families served by these trained officers reported improvement in family harmony, satisfaction and ability to solve problems (Guerney, Vogelsong & Glynn, 1977).  So a much broader segment of the child welfare system could benefit from the introduction of the RE program into the community.
Agency policy would change by incorporating this additional referral source for couples at risk of abusing their children.  An infrastructure that communicates the availability of the RE Program and the referral process will be established and disseminated among the FRC�s and child welfare field offices.  In addition, FMNC case workers will be asked to administer an abbreviated set of pre-test instruments to a specified group of their clients in order to develop a comparison group for this project, which would consist of a group of married or cohabiting parenting couples who did not choose to participate in the RE program.
Item #11 - This project will provide the following services:
A) To couples participating in the program:
1) Approximately eighteen hours of instruction and practice in the (RE) marriage education program;
2) Coaching by Program Leaders and/or trained volunteers during the class sessions as the couples practice the skills they learn in the course;
3) Availability of weekly practice sessions that the participants can participate in during the course or at any time after they have completed the course as "booster sessions";
4) Child care during the classes and practice sessions;
5) The opportunity for their children (age 7 and older) to receive age-appropriate training in the key RE skills in order to attempt to change the entire family environment and provide reinforcement of the parents� new skills;
6) Lunch during the full-day session;
B) To the children of the participants:
1) A supervised environment to stay in while their parents are taking the classes;
2) An opportunity to learn key RE skills (ages 7 and older, who have their parents� permission to participate);
3) Lunch during the full-day session
C) RE Training ? at various levels ? to various program support personnel including:
1) RE program supervisor training to two people who will be operating in the "Train the Trainer" role in O.C.;
2) RE program leadership training to part-time RE program leaders who will be leading the courses at the FRCs;
3) RE program leadership training to leaders in CBOs and FBOs who want to offer the RE Program;
4) RE program coaches training to the volunteer coaches in their environments;
5) RE children�s program training to the student interns who will be leading the children�s RE program classes;
6) RE skills training to the child welfare workers and FRC staff members who choose to participate
Item #12 - Conflicts occur in all families. Those families in the child welfare system have expressed their distress toward their child/ren in aggressive and abusive ways. Families in the general community may also be experiencing severe distress. Although their distress may not be abusive, other methods are also detrimental to the health of children, e.g. frequent verbal aggression, placing the child/ren in the middle of the couple�s conflicts, or separation and divorce. The overall benefits of two parent families have been well documented (c.f. Horn, 2003). RE has proven effective with a wide variety of families facing a wide variety of stressful demands. It is predicted RE will be of similar value to the child welfare families and those in the general community of O.C.
Providing RE skills to parenting couples in the child welfare system can be expected to bring greater stability and harmony.  Providing RE skills to the children of parents attending the Saturday workshops will further integrate these skills between parents and child/ren.  RE skills trainings for the children may assist both parent and child to break the repeated sequence of abusive interactions (Appel & Holden, 1998).
Accordino and Guerney (2001) summarized the over 30 years of quality outcome evaluations of RE with distressed and non-distressed pairs as follows: (1) RE is effective in improving the adjustment level and the relationship quality of couples and between parents and children, with regard to such important outcome measures as trust and intimacy; (2) RE yields even greater improvements with high-distress couples than low-distress couples; (3) RE improves participants� ability to communicate effectively as measured in their own self-reports or the observational assessment of observers who were unaware which participants learned RE and which were enrolled in other skills programs; (4) RE helps clients transfer their skills outside of the treatment contexts, and to improve their ability, as they self-report, to address issues of conflict and problems in other relationships; and, (5) RE has been shown to enhance participants� psychological health both through improving the overall quality of the home, as well as directly by improving their sense of self competence.
If the families from the general community and those specifically in the child welfare system show evidence of improvement in any or all of these evidence-based outcomes, the health, safety and quality of life for these children and their families will be improved.
Item #13 ? The primary method for recruiting participants for this project will be referrals from the approximately forty social workers that manage the cases of the FMNC families within O.C.  In order to allow these social workers to become comfortable with this new program so that they will generate these referrals, we will provide several RE training sessions specifically for these FMNC social workers.  One of the key objectives of this project is to increase the number of FMNC families who will become stabilized enough to exit the FMNC program within six months of entering. Since participation in the RE Program is predicted to encourage earlier exit from the FMNC program we will encourage the FMNC social workers to refer their married and non-married parenting couples to the RE Program within the first 60 days of entering the FMNC program.  Classes will be held in multiple locations throughout the county in both Spanish and English and clients will be free to participate in whichever class that best meets their schedule and location preferences.
 All couples from the child welfare system or the general community who request to participate in an RE program will be accepted into the program.  Our only restriction for participation in the RE program is that we will require all known domestic violence perpetrators to complete a domestic violence program before participating in the RE program.  If a family expresses a need for a marriage strengthening program but cannot attend one of the RE workshops because of scheduling conflicts or any other reason, they will be referred to an alternate resource, including the Orange County Marriage Resource Center website. While there are currently no marriage-skill building courses of the caliber of RE offered in O.C., these couples may benefit from one of the general marriage programs that are available.  In addition, once we have the "Train the Trainer" program in place, it is expected that a number of O.C. churches will begin to offer the RE program at their locations, which will give the FMNC couples an increased number of options as to when and where they can take a RE course.
Item #14 - The standard program which will be offered will consist of a full day Saturday session followed by four 2_ hour evening sessions.  The planned initial schedule for the Saturday session will be:
Morning (9:00 am ? 12:30 pm) Length of Time in minutes
Introductions and pre-test 20
Overview of Relationship Enhancement Model 30
Break 10
Expressive Skill 65
Break 10
Empathic Responding Skill 75

Lunch (provided) (12:30 pm ? 1:30 pm) 60

Afternoon (1:30 pm ? 5:15 pm)
Discussion / Negotiation Skill 75
Break 10
Problem / Conflict Resolution Skill 90
Break 10
Partner Facilitation Skill 25
Homework Assignment 15

The complete RE Program consists of nine skills, the five listed above (expressive, empathic responding, discussion/negotiation, problem/conflict resolution and partner facilitation) plus four others that will be taught during the following evening sessions (self-change, other-change, generalization and maintenance).  The format for teaching each of the nine skills is the same three step process: first the program leader presents (explains) the skill; second (s)he demonstrates the skill; and third the couples practice the skill under the supervision of the program leader and/or coaches.
The primary goal for the first session is to give the couples a solid grounding in the five core RE skills so that they have the ability to start practicing their skills right away.  The four evening sessions will reinforce the five core skills while building on them with the additional four topics listed above and giving the couples a chance to practice their new skills in a supervised environment.
Item #15 - RE is a culturally sensitive approach to family skill building. RE has been taught internationally and is published in languages other than English. All current RE workshop leaders already work or teach in culturally diverse communities and have had training in culturally sensitive practices. Further, all FLE, MFT and social work students to be trained as workshop coaches are required to take courses where gender and cultural diversity are woven throughout their curriculum. All RE trainings of workshop leaders and coaches will include information gathered from FRC staff regarding the diversity of families served by the centers. FRC staff will be asked to work with the project manager to develop possible scenarios of common family/staff dynamics which the RE trainer will use to teach the workshop leaders and coaches. Finally, since the majority of families are Spanish speaking, the majority of workshop staff will be bilingual and likely bi-cultural as well (Hosley, Gensheimer and Yang, 2003).
Item #16 - Participation by all parent couples are expected to be voluntary and the skills workshops will be provided to them at no cost for attendance or for materials.
Item #17 - Our first step in our evaluation plan has been to make arrangements to hire Dr. Carrie Petrucci, PhD, as this project�s third-party evaluator.   Dr. Petrucci is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at California State University at Long Beach and has extensive social work evaluation experience.  The project�s evaluation will utilize multiple methods including a quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test design with multiple comparison groups, case file and document review, and semi-structured open-ended interviews.  Exhibit B provides a detailed listing of all of the project�s short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals and objectives, along with the specific ways that they will be measured and evaluated.  The table below shows how all of the various aspects of the project will be evaluated.
Project Aspects Methods of Evaluation
Achievement of Project Goals and Objectives Please see Exhibit B for a complete list of project goals and objectives and a description of how each will be measured and evaluated
Customer satisfaction  Formal and anonymous course evaluations will be requested of all participants who complete, at the end of each course
Processes/Implementation Semi-structured interviews with participants, program leaders, and case workers; feedback from staff meetings
Impact Quasi-experimental design incorporating pre-test/post-test design with comparison groups utilizing standardized instruments implemented across both groups and matching this to CWS outcomes in a 12-month follow-up
Effectiveness  The RE program process will be linked to program outcomes as identified by standardized measurement of marital satisfaction, communication, and problem-solving, as well as child welfare outcomes that include length of stay in FMNC and completion status.
Efficiency of implementation  Cost per participant and actual project performance compared with project plan
 Item #18 - The project�s logic model (Exhibit A) graphically demonstrates strong links between the project�s inputs, activities, and short term, intermediate, and long term outcomes. Following are three examples, drawn from this project�s logic model:
 Example 1 ? "Four to five experienced marriage educators (inputs) will be hired and trained as RE Program Leaders to provide the RE program in both English and Spanish (activities) at Orange County FRCs to 1200 couples at risk of child abuse (short-term outcomes) in order to increase these couples� communication skills, conflict resolution skills and marital satisfaction levels and to decrease their risk of child abuse (intermediate outcomes) in order to create more stable family environments, improve family functioning, create shorter lengths of stay in the child welfare system, and increase child safety (long-term outcomes)."
 Example 2 ? "Two experienced marriage educators (inputs) will be trained and certified as RE Program Supervisors (activities) in order to provide advanced training and certification to the FRC RE Program Leaders  as well as to make RE Program Leadership training available to other community agencies in order to train at least 20 community RE Program Leaders who will offer RE to the public in non-FRC locations at least twelve times a year (short-term outcomes). This will allow for the dissemination of the RE program throughout Orange County and the replication of the RE program in other locations outside of Orange County (intermediate outcomes). This will provide broad access within Orange County and other communities to RE as a Family Support Service in order to prevent child maltreatment among families at risk (long-term outcomes)."
 Example 3 ? "Volunteers from faith based organizations and local universities (inputs) will be recruited and trained as RE coaches (activities). Child care providers and RE child program leaders and children�s social workers will also receive RE training (activities), which together will allow a children�s version of RE to be developed and implemented for the children of the participants of the RE couples program (activities). This will allow weekly practice sessions to be available as booster sessions, and will permit children�s social workers to reinforce the RE skills with these families at their monthly meetings (short-term outcomes). This family approach to skills training will reinforce RE skills for the participating couples which will increase couples� communication and conflict resolution skills, marital satisfaction levels and decrease their risk of child abuse (intermediate outcomes). These effects will then in turn, create more stable family environments, improve family functioning, create shorter lengths of stay in the child welfare system, and increase child safety (long-term outcomes)."
Item #19 - Exhibit B provides a listing of all of the short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes of this project, as presented on the logic model, and states specifically which objective performance measures will be used to measure and evaluate the success of this project as defined by achieving each of those outcomes.  Each outcome has a clearly defined and objective measurement which will produce specific quantitative and/or qualitative outcome data as indicated on that Exhibit.
Item #20 - In order to be able to refine the marriage-skills building program that we will be implementing so that we will end up with a program that will have the greatest impact on the FMNC population, we have designed an evaluation system that will allow us to make modifications to our program and see their impact on outcomes almost immediately.  The series of pre-test and post-test instruments we will be administering will give us almost immediate feedback on any modifications or adjustments we make.  The 3-month follow-ups will let us know if the modifications or adjustments have impacted the level of the couple�s integration of these skills into their everyday lives.   Therefore our three step plan is to (1) solicit input and ideas for improvement from a wide range of those associated with the program (program leaders, participants, coaches, social workers, etc.); (2) adjust the program as appropriate (full scale or on a pilot basis, depending on the change) to incorporate the most promising suggestions and (3) to monitor the results of the changes using the evaluation methods mentioned.  This built-in feedback loop will allow us to implement a program of continuous incremental improvements, resulting in the strongest possible program, generating the most positive child welfare system outcomes possible.
Item #21 - Evaluation: A post-test only form will be developed separately for workshop leaders, coaches and couple participants. For the couple participants, additional items will examine what program content had the greatest impact on their attitudes and behavior regarding their couple relationship and their parenting interaction with their child(ren).  The first piloted RE workshop will closely follow the current RE instructor�s manual. Feedback from these first and subsequent post-test and follow-up program evaluations will be used to initiate, track and measure, any new innovations in the existing RE program. All FMNC couple participants will be expected to complete outcome measures immediately prior to the start of the RE workshop, at the conclusion of the workshop, and at three month and one year follow-ups.  Included within the post-test, and both follow-up data collection will be items regarding their continued practice of RE skills.
 All outcome measures track selected aspects of couple and family functioning which will provide some indications of the overall emotional climate of the family, and specifically the occurrence of conflict. Use of the same outcome measures over four data collection points, and data solicited from the couple clients� caseworkers will, when collated, provide a running picture of changes in the family�s patterns.
Implementation: Project notes of all administrative meetings will be drafted.  Periodic evaluations of all personnel involved in program delivery will be conducted.  At each couples� workshop during the first six months, and a subset of those that occur later, a coach will be assigned the task to maintain a workshop log of participants� questions, spontaneous examples/stories which seem most impactful to the audience, and couple interactions during role plays.  All of this information will be collated throughout service delivery, and examined for content themes or salient events.
Item #22 - Maximum information is collected with minimum resources and the bulk of data collection occurs during daily operation.  Comparison groups will be formulated through a naturalistic cohort approach that does not alter existing child welfare operations and is cost-efficient.  Standardized instruments will directly address RE Program objectives.  The proposed methods of evaluation are comprehensive and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and context of this project since a systematic approach was taken to match up each of the project�s goals and objectives with an appropriate evaluation method.  One or more specific evaluation instruments that will provide the feedback needed to ascertain whether each of the objectives have been met, as is documented in Exhibit B.  All of the evaluation methods and measurements flow naturally from the project�s logic model.
Item #23 - The evaluation plan is expected to yield evidence-based results because it is using a research-based marriage-skills program, a standard program manual, a quasi-experimental design with pre-post tests and comparison groups, standardized instruments, a large sample size, and multiple points of data collection.  These factors are expected to produce a rigorous research-base on which to establish program effectiveness and guide replication in other settings.
Item #24 - We are allocating 15% of the project�s entire cash budget to project evaluation.  Our evaluation budget is $20,000 for Year 1, $35,000 for Year 2, and 35,000 for Year 3.  This is in addition to the substantial "in-kind" evaluation services which will be provided by local university students.  We have retained the services of an experienced social work evaluator who will be managing the entire evaluation process.
Item #25 - The following products will result from this project: 1) implementation handbook which will provide step-by-step instructions as to how other child welfare systems can implement the RE program in their locations; 2) supplement to existing RE Program Leaders Guide reflecting modifications to the RE program we will make to adapt it to the child welfare system.  Expected sections will include topics such as: suggested schedule modifications, unique exercises developed, special issues for CWS families, homework assignments, guidelines for parents to use to teach the RE skills to their children, and outlines for the practice sessions, as well as other topic areas that become important during the period of the grant; 3) supplement to the existing RE participant�s manual (in English and Spanish) to reflect changes and additions we have made for the child welfare system population; 4) curriculum for the children�s RE program (in English and Spanish); 5) interview guides for semi-structured open-ended interviews conducted with clients and project staff as part of the process evaluation; 6) a data collection form for the treatment and comparison groups to gather case file data for evaluation purposes; pre-test and post-test packets of a combination of standardized instruments for the treatment and control groups; 7) validation and norming of an instrument that directly addresses the RE program objectives; 8) web postings for both the Smart Marriages Newslist and the NIRE Newsletter to inform members of both organizations regarding recommended strategies to implement a similar program; 9) program progress reports submitted to the Children�s Bureau every six months, beginning April 30, 2003; 10) brief technical reports to the social workers and the FRCs every six months of the project, including project updates and interim results when available.  11) formal interim report back to all the FRCs at the two-year mark ? in time for their next contract cycle 12) A minimum of two journal article submissions discussing program implementation and/or evaluation findings to: "Child Abuse and Neglect" and "Families in Society; the Journal of Contemporary Human Services", for example; 13) a final report describing the target population, issues addressed, project design, implementation, outcomes and the results of the project evaluation.
Item #26 - Our product dissemination strategy will focus on three specific intended audiences: 1) the child welfare system researchers, policymakers and practitioners, who will be interested in our replicable, proven approach for its potential to reduce the amount of time that families are in the child welfare system and its potential to reduce the recurrence of child abuse and neglect in families exposed to the program, 2) RE practitioners throughout the country, who will be interested in any favorable outcomes of this project.  RE practitioners will be able to take these results into their local child welfare system offices and provide a strong case for replication of the program in their area, 3) marriage educators and marriage and family practitioners, policy makers and researchers, who will be very interested in the results of this project because it will give them justification to propose a similar strategy in their local child welfare systems.
Item #27 - Exhibit F presents a table of our plan that outlines seven mechanisms for disseminating information on strategies used and the outcomes achieved in our project across the three specific intended audiences described above.
Item #28 - The schedule for developing these dissemination products is included in Exhibit F.  The dissemination plan is appropriate in scope because: 1) it specifically targets the three groups that are most likely to act as catalysts in replicating this project in their own locations, 2) by developing separate messages to deliver into each of these three groups, we will be able to tailor each of the messages to the interests of the people receiving them.  3) the two common themes we will be stressing in each of the dissemination products will be the positive outcomes the project will have generated and the turnkey approach to replication we will be making available.
We are budgeting $1,500 per year for the dissemination plan.  That is to cover the cost of one person attending both of the conferences listed in order to present the findings each year of the grant.   The Regional Child Abuse and Neglect Conference and Smart Marriages Conference are the only two parts of the dissemination plan that would require separate line item budget items.  All other components of the dissemination plan are included in the normal planned staffing and operating budgets of the project.  Both of these Conferences are ones which members of the implementation team are regular speakers.

CRITERION 3: ORGANIZATIONAL PROFILES
Item #1 - Families and Communities Together (FaCT), Orange County�s Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program, is a partnership between the County of Orange SSA and the Orangewood Children�s Foundation, supporting Orange County FRC�s through funding, technical assistance and advocacy.  FaCT is a one of the programs in the continuum of child welfare services administered by the CFS Division of SSA.  (Please refer to Exhibit G for an organizational chart of the Children and Family Services Division of the County of Orange SSA).  Since 1994, FaCT has provided support services to children and families through community-based collaboratives operating FRCs that provide comprehensive social and health services in more than thirty-five O.C. cities.
     FaCT receives federal, state, county, and private funds including Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF), Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP), Office of Criminal Justice Planning (OCJP), CalWORKs Incentives and the Children and Families Commission of O.C. (Prop 10).  Beginning Federal Fiscal Year �03-�04, there will be nine FaCT-funded FRC�s located in strategic areas throughout O.C.
About eight years ago the County of Orange SSA engaged the community in an extensive planning process to develop a strategy for allocating Family Preservation and Support Program (FPSP) funds.  The County of Orange Board of Supervisors allocated the county�s FPSP funds to community-based collaboratives in high-need geographic areas.  These collaboratives evolved into FRCs.
Since 1994, FaCT has administered the County of Orange�s FPSP/PSSF funds in accordance with State and Federal regulations.  FaCT has also engaged in resource leveraging activities to enhance and sustain services funded by FPSP/PSSF.  Fund administration activities have included those related to Request for Proposals (RFP), contracts, program evaluation, and technical assistance and support.  FaCT also engages in resource leveraging activities to enhance and sustain services funded by FPSP/PSSF.  Tto inform and maintain best practices across sites, FaCT continually offers formal training and technical assistance to all FRC�s.  This includes the engagement of service-specific workgroups to improve and refine program evaluation in given areas such as domestic violence, counseling and case management interventions.  Outcomes of such practices have led to the successful evolution and expansion of services across sites.  As a result, other promising programs (i.e. parenting classes) have also expanded, becoming tailored to address more specific populations.
  This proposal is a joint venture between the County of Orange SSA and Catholic Charities of Orange County in partnership with other "experienced marriage educators", namely: the Office of Family Life of the Diocese of Orange (OFL), and the Orange County Marriage Resource Center (OCMRC).   The collaborative has extensive experience in marriage education program development and implementation (see Exhibit H).
Item #2 - The roles of each of the three community organizations in the Marriage Education Collaborative are:
1) Catholic Charities of Orange County (CCOC) ? CCOC will provide the RE program leaders and conduct all of the RE program classes.    The four marriage education experts listed below, as well as all of the RE program leaders will be part-time employees of CCOC (see Exhibit I).
2) The Office of Family Life of the Diocese of Orange (OFL) will provide substantial in-kind technical expertise in marriage education to CCOC.  In addition, the OFL will recruit prospective RE paid program leaders and volunteer coaches from its group of experienced volunteer marriage educators and promote the establishment of RE in the local Catholic churches within O.C.
3) The Orange County Marriage Resource Center (OCMRC) will provide substantial in-kind technical expertise in marriage education to CCOC.  In addition, the OCMRC will recruit prospective RE paid program leaders and volunteer coaches from its network of faith-based organizations and promote the establishment of RE in the local churches within OCMRC�s network.
An impressive team of four marriage education experts will form this project�s Marriage Education technical advisory team and will be actively involved in this project�s implementation.  Among them they have over forty years of collective marriage education experience and have personally provided marriage education classes or workshops to over 3,000 couples.  All four team members have been associated with the OCMRC for at least nine months.  Two (Koval and Stoica) are authorized RE Program Leaders; three are authorized Couple Communication Instructors, and all four are trained PREP Instructors.  The Team consists of:
ß Carmela Treanor; Director of the Office of Family Life for the Diocese of Orange, responsible for all marriage education which takes place in the diocese, including pre-marital education for 3,200 couples/year.
ß James Koval, PhD/MFT; Professor of Child Dev�t and Family Studies at California State University at Long Beach, where he teaches a course in Pre-Marital Interventions (among others).  He is also the founder of Marriage and Family Architects, which provides marriage education courses to the U.S. Coast Guard;
ß Nancy Landrum; author of the book "How to Stay Married and Love It" who has presented skill-based marriage education seminars and workshops to more than 1000 couples;
ß Dennis Stoica; Founder and Executive Director of the Orange County Marriage Resource Center, the lead agency in the Orange County Marriage Initiative.
Please refer to Exhibit J for a fuller description of the wealth of relevant experience contained on this team.
Item #3 - Brief resumes for the key project staff members and consultants are provided in Exhibit J. The key staff members include:
A) Jim Deming ? Project Director.  Currently Mr. Deming is Program Coordinator in the FaCT Program.  His in-depth knowledge of the operations at the FRCs and his previous experience as a child welfare system social worker make him an ideal candidate for this position.  Responsibilities: 1) Provide complete oversight to the project, 2) Ensure that all components of the proposal are properly attended to, 3) Ensure appropriate timelines are maintained, 4) Attend all required meetings, 5) Ensure the completion and timely submission of all required reports, 6) Take an active communications and coordination role with key employees in the relevant county departments such as FMNC and FRC, 7) Supervise, monitor and coordinate the project.  It is estimated that Mr. Deming may spend up to twenty percent of his time on this project in the beginning stages.  However, the grant budget will not be charged for his time.  This project director role is being performed as an "in-kind" contribution by the county towards this project.
B) Jim Koval - initial Certified RE Program Supervisor.  Responsibilities: 1) Will act in the "Train the Trainer" role, 2) Will have primary responsibility for the training and quality control of all new RE program leaders and coaches, 3) Will organize and teach the pilot RE programs, 4) Will develop and refine the specific model which will be replicated throughout the FRC system, 5) Will provide technical assistance throughout the 3-year project, 6) Will have responsibility for recruiting volunteer coaches as well as child care providers from Cal State Long Beach.  Experiences: Teaching at Cal State Long Beach, providing marriage counseling in private practice, providing marriage education through Marriage and Family Architects, former department chair.  His first-year time involvement with this project is estimated at approximately twenty percent.
C) Dennis Stoica ? Initial Project Manager.  Current position: Executive Director of the Orange County Marriage Resource Center. Experience: Extensive experience managing similar start-up projects, Harvard MBA, project manager with IBM, strategy consultant with Boston Consulting Group, former CEO of Charmac.  Stoica will also receive Level 4 training and become the second Certified RE Program Supervisor.  His first year involvement is estimated at between ten and twenty percent; however, the grant budget will not be charged for his time during the first year. The Initial Project Manager role is being performed as an "in-kind" contribution by the Orange County Marriage Resource Center towards this project.  Responsibility: This is a start-up position, designed to ensure that the project begins smoothly and that the decisions made in the early stages will build a firm foundation for the long-term success of the project. Once the project is past its start-up phase, and systems are in place to ensure its ongoing smooth operations, Stoica will relinquish this position, and be available for ongoing technical assistance, as needed.
D) Ongoing Project Manager / Lead RE Program Leader.  Once the project is running smoothly, the day to managing of the program will be handled by a person holding the dual roles of on-going project manager (half time) and lead RE program leader (quarter time).  Responsibilities: Will include items such as: scheduling program leaders for specific classes, reviewing program evaluations after each class, coordinating coaches for the courses, coordinating child care providers and instructors for the courses, coordinating the class schedules and attending monthly meetings with each of the FRCs, ongoing contact with the FMNC social workers, interfacing with the evaluator, and interfacing and coordinating with all staff, agencies, and volunteers involved in the project.  This person�s responsibilities as lead RE program leader will be to teach two courses a month, which will bring the workload of this combined position up to three-quarters time.  It is expected that this position will likely be filled from one of the first four RE program leaders hired, based on merit.
E) RE Program Leaders.  Responsibilities: 1) Will conduct RE marriage education classes, including administering pre-test and post-test instruments, 2) Will conduct an average of one and a half marriage education courses each month, consisting of an average of 20 hours per course, for a total of approximately 30 hours per month per RE Program Leader.
F) Other Marriage Education Technical Assistance ? to be provided by Carmela Treanor and Nancy Landrum, on an as-needed basis.  For budgetary purposes, a ten percent time allocation was assumed.
Outside organizations / consultants:
A) Outside Evaluator ? Dr. Carrie Petrucci, PhD, MSW.  Dr. Petrucci is an Assistant Professor in the Social Work Department at CSULB and an accomplished evidence-based social work evaluator.  For a description of her qualifications, please refer to Exhibit J.  She will have overall evaluation responsibility for the project, and will manage the entire evaluation process from beginning to end.
B) National Institute of Relationship Enhancement (NIRE) ? This is the Headquarters organization for the RE program. NIRE will provide consulting assistance in program design and adaptation for the RE program and provide initial Program Leadership training and "Train the Trainer" training to certify Jim Koval and Dennis Stoica.
C) Child care providers ? to take care of the children of these couples while they are in class.  This will take place at the FRCs.
Item #4 - Exhibit C is the Project�s Action Plan and Time Line, which lays out each of the major project tasks including a description of each task, the timeframe in which it should be completed, and the person or organization responsible for its completion.  The project director will have overall responsibility for making sure that the plan gets implemented on time and within budget and will have responsibility for coordinating all the activities to be carried out by all parties, subcontractors and consultants.
Item #5 - As soon as the grant is announced, Jim Deming will assume project director responsibilities, taking on the project management responsibility for this project.   The key people responsible for all aspects of the project plan are aware of their responsibilities and will be ready to begin implementing as soon as the grant is announced.  All necessary lead times and start-up times are built into the project plan.  From a program delivery standpoint, the initial program leaders, Dr. Koval and Mr. Stoica are already Authorized RE Program Leaders and so the team has the ability to begin offering the RE program in English at any time.  It is expected that the primary long-term RE program leaders in English and Spanish will be people who have experience delivering marriage education programs in church environments, and will lead the RE programs on a part-time basis.  Because of the extensive contacts that the marriage education partners have in this environment, we have many qualified candidates to draw upon to fill the positions.  Because the courses will be taught on weekends and evenings, these program leaders will not have to leave any fulltime employment they may have, so our pool of potential experienced and competent applicants for these positions is quite large.
Item #6 - There are four levels of instructor certification within NIRE�s leadership training system: Level 1 ? Authorized RE Program Leader/Educator, Level 2 ? Certified RE Program Leader/Educator, Level 3 ? Certified RE Program Instructor, Level 4 ? Certified RE Program Supervisor.
Our overall training plan is:
* Two members of the project staff (Jim Koval and Dennis Stoica) will become certified at Level 4, which will allow them to train Level 1 and Level 2 leaders/educators.  After this occurs, Orange County will no longer need to rely on RE�s headquarters organization to train future RE instructors;
All RE program leaders who are teaching RE at the FaCT FRCs as part of this grant will obtain both Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications;
* We will offer  no-charge Level 1 Training to any members of the community who are willing to either volunteer as a Coach in two courses at the FRCs or agree to offer the RE Training at no charge in the community for four times within the first year of taking the RE Leadership Training.
The bulk of this total training process will be completed within the first year of the grant, at a total cost of about $12,500, and provide:
* 2 level 4 Certified RE Program Supervisors, giving OC future self-sufficiency in training
* 2 RE Program Leadership classes, expected to train at least 12 Authorized RE Program Leaders;
* All RE Program Leaders within the FRCs will have obtained Level 2 Certification.
Item #7 -The Management and Reports Unit (MRU) is the department within SSA�s CFS Division of the County of Orange that is responsible for ensuring that all departmental regulations and procedures pertaining to confidentiality and careful handling of information on individuals, families and evaluation data are followed within all operating units.  The MRU will conduct a full review of the project team�s plan for gathering and analyzing the data which is generated as part of the project to ensure appropriate handling and client confidentiality.  Informed consent will be obtained from clients at the onset of their participation.  To ensure Departmental compliance, MRU staff will utilize a unique identifier for each client.
Item #8 - Once the grant has been awarded, the applicant will 1) integrate this program into the agency�s existing computerized record-keeping system in a way that will accurately support cost-claims, 2) enforce all applicable administrative policies and procedures, 3) submit cost claims and required reports in a timely manner, 4) monitor the project�s progress against the project plan, 5) cooperate fully with the evaluation efforts, 6) administer contracts with the marriage-education partners and seek opportunities to share best-practice findings.  These functions are a normal part of the functioning of the department, used on all ongoing projects, so that it will be quite natural for this project to use these existing and proved systems and resources.
Item #9 - The marriage strengthening classes will be taught at the Family Resource Centers, which are funded by federal Promoting Safe and Stable Families funds received through the California Department of Social Services. Each FRC has between ten and twenty existing programs in place designed to provide support services to families in order to strengthen families and reduce the occurrence or recurrence of child abuse.  These proposed marriage-strengthening classes will be very complementary to existing family strengthening programs offered at the FRCs.  In addition, there are excellent opportunities for cross-referrals between existing programs at the FRCs and these marriage programs.  One example of this cross-referral potential is that all of the FRCs currently offer parenting classes and taught 9,890 caregivers last year.  We expect that the parenting classes and marriage-strengthening classes will be excellent cross-referral programs for each other.
Item #10 - The primary authors of this proposal are Dennis Stoica, Jim Koval, and Jim Deming, whose roles in the implementation of the project are described in detail in Item #3, above.  In addition, all other members of the Project Team mentioned by name in Criterion 3 contributed content relevant to their particular areas of expertise.

Budget Justification / Narrative

Applicant�s Perspective: The attached 424A form indicates that $3,000 will be spent by the applicant for travel, and $197,000 will be contracted with the experienced marriage education collaborative led by Catholic Charities of Orange County, as described in Criterion 3 of this grant proposal, to implement the RE marriage skills-building program at the FaCT Family Resource Centers (FRCs) in Orange County.  The $3,000 allocated by the applicant for travel is for the Project Director, who is a county employee, to attend the early kick-off meeting for grantees funded under this priority areas, to be held within the first three months of the project (first year only) in Washington D.C., and an annual three to five day meeting with the Children�s Bureau staff in Washington, D.C., as noted on page 142 of the Funding Announcement.

Marriage Education Collaborative�s Perspective: The following table shows how the marriage education collaborative is budgeting to spend the $197,000 in the first year of the project.  Detailed explanations for all of the figures follow the table.

 Category  $ Amount
 Personnel  84,600
 Fringes  14,005
Travel     3,000
Supplies  10,045
 Contractual  20,000
Other Costs  65,350
Total            197,000
 

A) Payroll.  Total of $84,600.  All payroll time requirements are as listed in Criterion 3, Item 3.  All information which is requested in the Funding Announcement is shown on the table below.  All of the employees listed will be hired and begin work within the initial 90-day period of the grant except for one.  As is explained in the write-up to Criterion 3, Item 3, the position of "Ongoing Project Manager / Lead RE Program Leader" is planned to be filled by the initial RE Program Leader who appears to be the best fit for that position.  That decision will be made after we have watched each of the initial RE Program Leaders perform on the job for a short period of time.

 Time Time
 Commit Commitment Annual Grant Wage Fringe Fringe
Title In Months as % Salary Salary Rates Benefit % Cost
Project Director 12 up to 20% N/A            0 N/A N/A N/A
Certified RE Supervisor 12 20%       83,200        16,640  40 10%       1,664
Initial Project Manager 12 10% to 20%  N/A              -    N/A N/A  N/A
RE Program Leader 1 10 17.9%       47,840          7,119 23 10%          712
RE Program Leader 2 10 17.9%       47,840          7,119  23 10%          712
RE Program Leader 3 10 17.9%       47,840          7,119  23 10%          712
RE Program Leader 4 10 17.9%       47,840          7,119  23 10%          712
Ongoing Proj Mgr/LPL 8 75%       58,240        29,120  28 27%       7,862
Other Mar�gTech Ass'ts 12 10%       68,640          6,846 33 10%          686
Contracts Acct (F/T Alc) 12 10%       35,000       3,500 17 27%          945
Total          84,600       14,005

B) Fringe Benefits:  Total of $14,005. Fringe benefits for part-time employees were calculated at 10%, and covers only payroll taxes.  For full-time employees (only one is considered full-time, at 30 hours per week), it is 27%, which reflects CCOC average actual costs for payroll taxes, insurance (health, dental and life), vacation, and retirement.

C) Travel.  The total first year project budget contains $6,000 for travel.  That is broken out $3,000 for the Project Director, who is a county employee, and $3,000 for the Evaluator, who is a subcontractor.  This $6,000 covers both of those people attending an early kick-off meeting for grantees funded under this priority areas, to be held within the first three months of the project (first year only) in Washington D.C. and an annual three to five day meeting with the Children�s Bureau staff in Washington, D.C., as indicated on page 142 of the Funding Announcement.

D) Equipment ? none budgeted.

E) Supplies $10,045; this represents the $30.00 cost to supply one copy of the RE Program Couples Manual and one copy of the RE Program Auxiliary Manual to each of the 300 couples who are expected to participate in the RE Program during the first year of the project, plus $1,045 for incidental supplies.

F) Contractual $20,000; this is the third-party evaluation subcontract with Carrie Petrucci, an experienced social work practices Evaluator.  The program funding announcement indicated that between 10% and 15% of the project�s total funding should be allocated for evaluations.  We plan to spend the maximum amount of 15% across the three years of the grant.  However, because we are including long-term evaluation measurements for this project, the evaluation budget will ramp up over time.  We are budgeting $20,000 in Year 1, $35,000 in Year 2 and $35,000 in Year 3, for a total budgeted evaluation cost of $90,000 or 15% of the project�s three-year budget.

G) Other Costs totaling $65,350, broken out as follows:

1) Training Costs ? of $12,500 to implement the Train the Trainer Program.  Koval and Stoica are currently Level 1 - Authorized RE Program Leaders and to obtain the Level 4 "Certified RE Program Supervisor" Designation, they must go through the following three-step process:

a) Become Level 2 - Certified RE Program Leaders ? at a cost of $1,500 per person or $3,000 total.
b) Become Level 3 ? Certified RE Program Instructors ? at a total cost of $7,000.  This includes Koval and Stoica co-leading three separate RE Leaders Training Classes in Orange County under the supervision of the NIRE National Instructor Trainer.  If an average of five new (FRC-based or community-based) RE Program Leaders receive RE Leadership training in each of these three classes, this means that we will train a total of 15 RE Program Leaders in Orange County as part of this "Train the Trainer" certification process.
c) Become Level 4 ? Certified RE Program Supervisors - Receive additional supervision from NIRE, which would occur within the following three months, at a total cost of $1,250 per person ? or $2,500 total.  As a part of this process, all of the FaCT FRC RE Program Leaders would become Certified (Level 2).

2) Child Care Costs ? of $20,100, calculated as follows.  Assume each couple averages 2.5 children in child care, that each child care provider earns $10 per hour (including payroll taxes) and can watch 5 children at a time.  Therefore each child care provider can watch the children for two couples at a time, at an average cost of $5 per couple per hour.  Each RE course takes approximately 20 hours of child care (allowing for drop-off and pick-up time), which means our normal cost for childcare would be $100 per couple who participates in the RE program.  However we have made arrangements with Cal State Long Beach for majors of their Child Development Major program to participate in this process in a way that is expected to reduce the average child care cost per parent to $67.  300 couples times $67 per couple comes to $20,100

3) Administrative assistance - $20,000.  This is to cover the additional administrative workload that this program is projected to place upon CCOC.

4) Food costs of $6,750.  Since the weekend sessions are full-day events, we will be providing lunch to all the participants and support people.  For an average sized class of six couples, we would expect there to be a total of 18 adults (12 participants, one Program Leader, 2 volunteer coaches, and 3 child care providers) and 15 children (6 couples times 2.5 children per couple).  Assuming an average cost of $5 per adult and $3 per child yields a total annual lunch cost of $6,750.  (18 adults times $5 per adult equals $90; 15 children plus $3 per child equals $45; giving a total cost per class of $135.  Divide that by the six couples in an average class to arrive at an average cost of $22.50 per participating couple (includes the couple, their children, and their share of the support people.  Multiply the average $22.50 per couple times $300 couples in the first year comes to $6,750 in that first year.
5) Program materials cost of $5,000 ? This figure is budgeted to be used to prepare new presentation material and participants material, in English and Spanish, for the modified version of the RE program that gets refined and implemented as part of this project.
6) Audit and Payroll processing fees of $1,000 - This is a direct reimbursement of Catholic Charities costs for these items.

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