Oklahoma Marriage Initiative
A Good Idea
In 1999 the Department of Human Services launched the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI). In 2001 and 2002, DHS funded a statewide baseline survey to assess attitudes and behaviors related to marriage and divorce. The preliminary report of the survey, which was published in July 2002, was used to inform what types of services would be provided under the OMI. One of the main activities under the OMI is training state human services department employees and service providers--including Oklahoma State University Cooperation Extension educators, faith-based organizations, community action agencies, mental health professionals, corrections departments, and law enforcement agencies--to carry out relationship skills workshops in every county of the state. OMI trains workshop leaders in the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) curriculum, a premarital education program that addresses skills and strategies for communicating effectively, solving problems and protecting relationships from destructive conflict. The curriculum has been adapted for specific populations, including Christian, Jewish, African American, Hispanic, youth, low-income and prison audiences. OMI provides training to workshop leaders free of charge in exchange for an agreement to deliver at least four free community-based workshops a year. It recruits workshop leaders based on their ability to serve target populations across the state.
Goal / Mission
The OMI is a multi-sector effort to reduce the state's divorce rate, strengthen families, and reduce dependency on government support.
Results / Accomplishments
To date, OMI has trained over 1,200 workshop leaders, who collectively have carried out 137 workshops with 1600 participants. OMI is also helping to develop relationship and marriage education classes for high school students. OMI worked with PREP and Connections (a relationship education program for high school students) to develop a curriculum for a series of Family and Consumer Life Skills classes, which will be offered on an elective basis. The curriculum was pilot tested in 2003 with 24 teachers and 750 high school students. A revised curriculum is being rolled out to over 300 teachers during the 2003-2004 school year. OMI also collaborates with government agencies, faith leaders, and businesses to provide other marriage and family strengthening services.
About this Promising Practice
- Primary Contact
- Mary Myrick, President
Public Strategies Inc
Social Environment / Family Structure
Government & Politics / Programs, Policies, & Laws
- The Department of Human Services
- Finance Project
- Date of publication
- Jun 2004
- Target Audience