Florida Groups Brainstorm on Marriage Push
Smart Marriages ®
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Wed Feb 18 10:09:21 EST 2004
subject: Florida Groups Brainstorm on Marriage Push
from: Smart Marriages®
- FLORIDA GROUPS BRAINSTORM ON MARRIAGE PUSH
Florida groups brainstorm on marriage push
By Kathleen Chapman, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 14, 2004
TAMPA -- As Congress considers a bill that would give $240 million to
promote marriage, hundreds of Florida social workers, community and church
leaders met Friday to make their plans to spend it.
Groups across the state say they are eager to reach struggling young
mothers, prison inmates and unemployed fathers crippled by child support
They believe a renewed focus on stable, two-parent homes will help solve
social problems from child poverty to abuse. Wade Horn, who leads the
federal marriage initiative as assistant secretary for children at the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, urged Florida leaders to roll back
the tide against divorce and single motherhood. "I need you all to come up
with the good ideas," he said.
Horn struck back at critics who worry the federal government could
stigmatize single mothers or encourage women to commit to abusive partners.
The plan simply gives poor couples access to marriage courses and counseling
that richer Americans take for granted, Horn said. "It's certainly not about
people calling Dr. Wade Horn's Loveline to get matched up," he said.
groups in Florida are already at work. The state recently received $1.7 in
federal money, winning three of the country's seven pilot projects.
In Broward and Jacksonville, counselors in the PAIRS program are working on
a counseling program and intense weekend course called Passage to Intimacy.
The University of Central Florida also is designing a relationship education
program, and a private foster care agency in Tallahassee is planning
individual therapy for parents in their own homes.
Healthy Families Florida, the state's largest child abuse prevention agency,
will soon sign a contract with the Department of Children and Families to
promote two-parent families. They already work on the bond between mother
and child, but can use the same counselors to work on the relationship
between mother and father, Executive Director Carol McNally said.
Kelvin Bledsoe, Director of Community Development at the Urban League of
Palm Beach County said he was especially struck by the statistic that
between 1960 and 1995, the percent of black children living with married
parents dropped from 75 percent to 33 percent.
He wants to change that. Monday, the Urban League will host a new forum
called "He Said, She Said" to improve communication and respect between
black men and women.
Under President Bush's proposal, half the $240 million would go to state
governments, and half would go to community organizations such as churches
and counseling programs. All will have to apply through competitive grants.
The government also is beginning to promote marriage through the programs it
already provides. Horn said the federal government plans to spend $6.5
million for studies on which programs make a difference and which don't.
"The president wants the programs to be measured by results, not good
intentions.... Taxpayers don't want their money to be spent on programs that
make them feel good. They want it to be spent on programs that work."
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