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TitleThe Implementation of Family Strengthening programs for Families Affected by Incarceration.
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Table of Contents
                            The Implementation of Family Strengthening Programs for Families Affected by Incarceration
	Acknowledgements
	Contents
	Tables
	Executive Summary
		WHO IS SERVED BY FAMILY STRENGTHENING PROGRAMS?
		HOW DO PROGRAMS BUILD PARTNERSHIPS ACROSS THE CORRECTIONS–HUMAN SERVICES DIVIDE?
		HOW DO PROGRAMS MAKE FAMILY STRENGTHENING RELEVANT TO JUSTICE-INVOLVED FAMILIES?
		WHAT HAVE FUNDED COMMUNITIES SUSTAINED AFTER FEDERAL FUNDING ENDS?
	SECTION 1 The Responsible Fatherhood, Healthy Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners Initiative
		1.1 BACKGROUND
		1.2 OVERVIEW OF THE MFS-IP INITIATIVE
			1.2.1 Allowable Activities
			1.2.2 Target Population
			1.2.3 Additional Requirements
		1.3 THE MFS-IP EVALUATION
			1.3.1 Evaluation Overview
			1.3.2 Evaluation Goals
			1.3.3 Implementation Study Overview
			1.3.4 Impact Study Overview
		1.4 DATA SOURCES FOR THIS REPORT
		1.5 SECTION SUMMARY
	SECTION 2 MFS-IP Grantees and Program Design
		2.1 THE MFS-IP GRANTEES
		2.2 GRANTEE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
		2.3 KEY DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS
			2.3.1 Organizational Partnerships
			2.3.2 Recruitment and Participation
			2.3.3 Program Components
			2.3.4 Service Delivery Strategies
			2.3.5 Sustainability Planning
			2.3.6 Key Design Insights from the MFS-IP Grantees
		2.4 SECTION SUMMARY
	SECTION 3 Creating and Maintaining Organizational Partnerships
		3.1 COLLABORATING WITH CORRECTIONAL AGENCIES
			3.1.1 Navigating Start-Up and Ongoing Partnership Challenges
			3.1.2 Effects of Economic Recession
			3.1.3 Impact of State Correctional Policy Context
			3.1.4 Impact of Correctional Facility Context
			3.1.5 Strategies for Effective Partnerships with Correctional Agencies
		3.2 BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH COMMUNITY JUSTICE AGENCIES
		3.3 WORKING WELL WITH COMMUNITY-BASED AGENCIES
			3.3.1 Initial and Ongoing Partnership Challenges
			3.3.2 Impact of the Recession
			3.3.3 Impact of Geographic Context
			3.3.4 Impact of Other Contextual Factors
			3.3.5 Strategies for Effective Partnerships with Community-Based Agencies
		3.4 SECTION SUMMARY
	SECTION 4 Recruitment and Participation
		4.1 TARGET POPULATION
			4.1.1 Relationship Status
			4.1.2 Specialized Populations
			4.1.3 Stage of Incarceration or Reentry
			4.1.4 Geographic Parameters
			4.1.5 Other Restrictions
		4.2 RECRUITMENT APPROACHES
			4.2.1 Recruiting Men in Correctional Settings
			4.2.2 Recruiting Men in Community Settings
			4.2.3 Recruiting Partners
		4.3 RECRUITMENT CHALLENGES
			4.3.1 Recruiting Men
			4.3.2 Recruiting Partners
			4.3.3 Overcoming Recruitment Challenges: What Grantees Learned about Effective Recruitment
			4.3.4 Client Perspectives: Motivation for Participating in MFS-IP Programs
		4.4 TOTAL PARTICIPATION NUMBERS
		4.5 SECTION SUMMARY
	SECTION 5 MFS-IP Program Components
		5.1 RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION
			5.1.1 Relationship Education Course Format
			5.1.2 Relationship Education Curricula
		5.2 PARENTING EDUCATION
			5.2.1 Parenting Education Course Format
			5.2.2 Parenting Education Curricula
		5.3 OTHER FAMILY SUPPORTS
			5.3.1 In-Person Visitation Support
			5.3.2 Supporting Long-Distance Communication
			5.3.3 Family Group Conferencing and Family Counseling
		5.4 CASE MANAGEMENT
		5.5 OTHER INDIVIDUALIZED SUPPORTS
		5.6 ECONOMIC STABILITY SERVICES
		5.7 OTHER GROUP-BASED PROGRAM COMPONENTS
			5.7.1 Support Groups
			5.7.2 Substance Abuse Treatment
			5.7.3 Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
			5.7.4 Life Skills Workshops
		5.8 POST-RELEASE PROGRAM COMPONENTS
		5.9 SECTION SUMMARY
	SECTION 6 Key Strategies for Service Delivery
		6.1 ADDRESSING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
			6.1.1 Domestic Violence Protocols
			6.1.2 Detecting Domestic Violence Risk upon Enrollment
			6.1.3 Rethinking Enrollment Screening Procedures
			6.1.4 Domestic Violence Exclusion Criteria
			6.1.5 Domestic Violence Education
			6.1.6 Individual Supports Related to Domestic Violence
		6.2 ADAPTING CURRICULA TO ENSURE RELEVANCE
			6.2.1 Adapting Relationship and Parenting Education Content
			6.2.2 Adapting Course Language
			6.2.3 Adapting Style of Delivery
		6.3 MAKING CHANGES BASED ON PARTICIPANTS’ INPUT
			6.3.1 Changes to Operations
			6.3.2 Changes to Curricula
		6.4 STAFFING EFFECTIVELY
			6.4.1 Hiring and Retaining Staff
		6.5 KEEPING PARTICIPANTS ENGAGED
			6.5.1 Engaging Incarcerated Participants
			6.5.2 Engaging Partners in the Community
			6.5.3 Engaging Reentering Men and Their Partners
		6.6 SECTION SUMMARY
	SECTION 7 Looking Ahead: Grantees’ Assessments of Their Achievements and Post-Funding Sustainability
		7.1 PERCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT WORKED IN MFS-IP
		7.2 LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT PROGRAM FOCUS AND MOST EFFECTIVE COMPONENTS
		7.3 LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT THE FAMILIES THAT BENEFITED THE MOST FROM PROGRAMMING
		7.4 GRANTEE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DESIGN AND DELIVERY OF FAMILY-STRENGTHENING PROGRAMMING
			7.4.3 Integrating Parenting and Healthy Relationship Programming
			7.4.4 Adding More Services
			7.4.5 Delivering Planned Services Effectively
		7.5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUNDING AND GRANT MONITORING
		7.6 SUSTAINABILITY OF MFS-IP PROGRAMS
			7.6.1 Efforts to Secure Extramural Funding
		7.7 SECTION SUMMARY
	SECTION 8 Conclusion: Key Lessons from the Implementation Study of MFS-IP Programs
		8.1 DEFINING A TARGET POPULATION
			8.1.1 Importance of Serving Justice-Involved Men and Their Families
			8.1.2 Including More Families in Services
		8.2 DESIGNING A PROGRAM THAT MEETS PARTICIPANTS’ NEEDS
			8.2.1 Reframing “Healthy Marriage”
			8.2.2 Providing Other Relevant Supports
			8.2.3 Delivering Curricula Tailored for Justice-Involved Couples
			8.2.4 Building Genuine Connections with Participants
			8.2.5 Timing Services Effectively
			8.2.6 Engaging Participants in the Community
		8.3 CREATING STRONG PARTNERSHIPS
			8.3.1 Partnerships with State Departments of Correction and Correctional Facilities
			8.3.2 Partnerships with Community-Based Agencies
			8.3.3 Partnerships with Domestic Violence Agencies
		8.4 BUILDING SUSTAINABILITY AND LONG-TERM IMPACT
			8.4.1 Sustaining Innovative Programs
			8.4.2 Perceived Impact of MFS-IP Programs
	References
	Appendix A Funding Announcement for MFS-IP Initiative
	Appendix B Understanding Implementation Success among MFS-IP Grantees: A Conceptual Framework
	Appendix C Site-Specific Eligibility Criteria
	Appendix D Site-Specific Recruitment Procedures
	Appendix E Demographic Characteristics of MFS-IP Program Participants
                        
Document Text Contents
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Section 6 — Key Strategies for Service Delivery

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financed by grant funds. Interviewees regarded the course as highly effective. At MDDHR,

this service was available to prospective participants through the county Department of

Human Services but was not used because no men were assessed as needing it.

A third grantee, RIDGE (OH), referred men who exhibited a propensity toward domestic

violence while participating in the couples communication courses to a batterer intervention

course provided by the state prison system. The program required that this course be

completed before the couple could resume participating in relationship education; however,

this requirement was seldom put into effect due to a lack of detection of domestic violence

during programming.

Incorporating Domestic Violence Modules into Other Activities

More commonly, MFS-IP grantees incorporated brief educational content on domestic

violence into regular program activities. These shorter modules focused exclusively on

domestic violence but were typically delivered to participants who were already receiving

other program components. For example, NJDOC added a one-session, couples-based

domestic violence workshop based on the National Fatherhood Initiative Curriculum.12


12 None of these curricula is endorsed by RTI, the evaluation contractor or by HHS, the funder of the

MFS-IP evaluation. Names of curricula are provided to give the reader a more specific
understanding of project activities.

The

workshop was delivered at correctional facilities at the program’s regular evening class time

to participants who completed the Married and Loving It course, before they began the

couples-based parenting course. It included a particular focus on men’s roles in domestic

violence, both as partners and as fathers.

Two grantees contracted with local domestic violence providers to provide presentations on

domestic violence during their courses. At OLHSA (MI), a contracted domestic violence

provider presented a two-hour interactive unit on family violence during the couples-based

relationship education course. Shelby County DOC [TN] invited a domestic violence

provider to present to fathers during its parenting class and separately to partners and

caregivers while their children participated in child-friendly visitation.

Instructors and participants also reported that information on domestic violence was

integrated into their existing parenting and relationship education curricula. For example,

Centerforce (CA)’s parenting curriculum, Back to Family, included a unit on the impact of

family violence and other forms of abuse on children’s well-being. According to participants,

examining the issue of domestic violence from the perspective of children’s experiences was

memorable and compelled them to pay more attention to the subject.

Role of Relationship Education in Domestic Violence Prevention

Interviewees from other sites proposed that some aspects of parenting and relationship

education work might help prevent domestic violence perpetration among participating men.

Interviewees at IDOC (IN) noted that their relationship education curriculum (a newly

released version of PREP) integrated safety concerns into every aspect of course content

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Implementation of Family Strengthening Programs

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and suggested that this information might help couples reduce the potential for domestic

violence.

Some interviewees advocated for the importance of offering some form of domestic violence

education to all participants in corrections-based family-strengthening programs. One

interviewee argued, “Even if they didn’t commit a violent offense to get here, just by being

in a prison they’re being steeped in violence.” Yet an interviewee from a site that did not

offer any domestic violence education components felt that domestic violence-related

content was not relevant to couples in which one partner was incarcerated, because any

personal contact the couple might have was closely monitored during incarceration.

Other interviewees mentioned that despite a lack of

opportunities for physical abuse, verbal abuse

appeared to be highly prevalent among participating

couples. One program leader suggested that

providing domestic violence education about verbal

abuse was crucial for incarcerated participants

because the information had immediate relevance and

could be more readily applied to participants’ current

interactions with their partners.

There’s a certain hardness you have
to have in prison, but we can show
them a different way of dealing with
situations [while] still presenting
themselves from a masculine
standpoint… to be manly without
resorting to violence.

-A program staff member

6.1.6 Individual Supports Related to Domestic Violence

Interviewees at most sites mentioned that program staff were available to provide

individualized support for participants dealing with domestic violence in their relationships.

Among grantees that provided other forms of individualized support (e.g., counseling or

case management), support related to domestic violence was offered as needed by program

staff in the course of their regular work with participants. At these and other sites, referrals

to outside resources were made available to participants who self-identified as needing

domestic violence–related assistance.

6.2 ADAPTING CURRICULA TO ENSURE RELEVANCE

All sites expressed a need to adapt course materials to make them relevant to participants’

lives. As described in Section 5 , grantees used a variety of parenting and relationship

education curricula to guide their group classes. Most used commercially available

curricula; some were designed for use with families affected by incarceration and others

were not. Other grantees developed original curricula tailored for their target populations.

6.2.1 Adapting Relationship and Parenting Education Content

Staff observed that most unmarried current and prospective participants did not seem to

relate to content that focused on marriage. However, the goals of strengthening family

relationships, improving parenting, and improving communication between romantic

partners and coparents during incarceration were emphasized and typically resonated well.

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Implementation of Family Strengthening Programs

As shown in Table E-2, the average participant age across programs ranged from 29 to 37

years old. Centerforce (CA), IDOC (IN), and Osborne (NY) reported the oldest participants,

whereas NJDOC participants were the youngest.

Table E­2. Age of Male Participants in MFS­IP Sites (Compared with Greater State Prison
Population)

Average Age in Years (Ave. Age of

State Prison Pop.) Grantee % Missing Data

Centerforce (CA) (n=173) 37 (38) 2%

34 (N/A) 2%

36 (37) 0%

LSSSD (n=1,259) 31 (N/A) 4%

34 (N/A) 57%

MNCCJ (n=135) 31 (36) 7%

31 (34) 0%

OLHSA (MI) (n=812) 36 (N/A) 1%

Osborne (NY) (n=348) 37 (37) 1%

RIDGE (OH) (n=1,971) 32 (37) 0%

Shelby County DOC (n=132) 29 (33) 7%

CFSNH (n=711)

IDOC (IN) (n=758)

MDDHR (n=483)

NJDOC (n=333)

Note. N/A, not available.

Table E-3 displays information on relationship status, partner participation, and parental

status among the men served by the grantees during the five year service delivery period

represented in their administrative data, although much of the data were missing. A

surprising number of sites reported large percentages of participants who were not married

or in a committed relationship. This pattern is perhaps explained by the fact that many

grantees allowed men to participate in parenting classes or other program components even

if they were not in an intimate relationship. The extent of partner enrollment varied widely

across sites, from 100% at MNCCJ to 9% at MDDHR. Fatherhood status also varied across

the programs, although less so than relationship status and partner enrollment. In 5 of the

10 programs, at least 90% of participants had children. Once again, some grantees had a

large amount of missing data on the elements shown in Table 3-6, making it difficult to

draw definitive conclusions.

E­2

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Table E­3. Relationship Status, Partner Participation, and Children

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Grantee

Relationship Status Partner Participation Children

% Married

% in a

Committed

Relationship

% Not in a

Committed

Relationship % Unknown

% Partner

Enrolled % Unknown

% with

Children % Unknown

Centerforce (CA)
(n=173)

31 16 39 14 12 1 96 2

CFSNH
(n=711)

19 21 45 15 13 0 84 9

LSSSD
(n=1,259)

22 35 37 6 N/A 100 100 0

MDDHR
(n=483)

17 22 61 <1 9 0 81 0

MNCCJ
(n=135)

16 68 N/A 16 100 0 92 8

NJDOC
(n=333)

11 62 27 1 84 0 100 0

OLHSA (MI)
(n=812)

57 29 1 13 20 0 90 1

Osborne (NY)
(n=348)

25 7 25 42 14 86 70 21

RIDGE (OH)
(n=1,971)

21 25 50 4 34 0 96 0

Shelby County DOC (TN)
(n=132)

N/A N/A N/A 100 N/A 100 82 0

Note. N/A, not available.

Source: Administrative data collected from grantees.

E
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