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DHSS Seeks Innovative Proposals to Promote Healthy Marriages in Alaska
Welfare-to-work success brings Federal bonus funds to Alaska


August 31, 2004

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is seeking proposals from community and faith-based organizations for programs and services designed to support the formation and maintenance of married, two-parent families. Funding for the Healthy Marriages Initiative totals $500,000 and is offered in grants of up to $50,000 per organization. A Request for Proposals detailing the Healthy Marriages Initiative is available on the Public Notices section of the Health and Social Services website at: Proposals are due September 15, 2004.

The goal of this initiative is to increase the percentage of healthy, married two-parent families in Alaska. Healthy, two-parent families are more likely to ensure the well being of children than single parent families and those with two unmarried adults. Recent research also indicates that marriage may significantly influence the reduction of poverty rates.

"Healthy marriages are the foundation of our society and this funding will provide many tools to Alaskans to improve their ability to enjoy a successful future together with their families," said DHSS Commissioner Joel Gilbertson. "We invite community organizations and faith-based organizations to join this effort by creating innovative proposals to foster healthy marriages."

The source of these funds is a Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) High Performance Bonus award. The state received a $3.18 million bonus in 2002 for successful welfare-to-work strategies that resulted in high-performance outcomes in several employment-related categories. "Our emphasis on helping Alaskans move from welfare to work has been so very successful," says Public Assistance Director Katherine Farnham. "Through these bonus awards, our success with welfare reform continues to benefits Alaska families."

Proposed programs or services must be innovative, provide collaboration with other community organizations, and have clearly defined measures and outcomes. Programs or services funded by these grants for FY2005 could include but are not limited to:

  • Education in high schools on the value of marriage, relationship skills, and budgeting;
  • Marriage education, marriage skills, and relationship skills programs, that may include parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement for non-married pregnant women and non-married expectant fathers;
  • Pre-marital education and marriage skills training for engaged couples and for couples or individuals interested in marriage;
  • Marriage enhancement and marriage skills training programs for married couples;
  • Divorce reduction programs that teach relationship skills;
  • Marriage mentoring programs which use married couples as role models and mentors in at-risk communities; and
  • Public advertising campaigns on the value of marriage and the skills needed to increase marital stability and health.


Source of News Release:

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
Web Site


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