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Administration for Children and Families US Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Public Affairs (OPA)
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Healthy Marriage Initiative (HMI)


The HMI was begun to help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services, on a voluntary basis, where they can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain a healthy marriage.

The Healthy Marriage Initiative
In practical terms, the Healthy Marriage Initiative (HMI) focuses on:


All healthy marriages share at least two characteristics. First, they are mutually enriching, and second, both spouses have a deep respect for each other. The HMI hopes to:

This initiative is not about:

Why is the Federal Government promoting this initiative?
The Administration for Children and Families administers over 65 different social programs at a cost of $47 billion dollars each year. They include: child welfare, child support enforcement, programs for runaway youths and anti-poverty programs. The breakup of families and marriages often creates or exacerbates the need for such programs. To reduce the need for these services, we must begin preventing the problems from happening in the first place. One way to accomplish this is to help couples form and sustain healthy marriages.

Research suggests that children who grow up in healthy married, two-parent families tend to do better on a host of outcomes than those who do not. Further, many social problems affecting children, families and communities could be reduced if more children grew up in healthy, married families. For example:

President Bush echoed this sentiment when he indicated that healthy marriages would be a focus of his administration. In proclaiming National Family Week in November 2001, he noted:

"My administration is committed to strengthening the American family. Many one-parent families are also a source of comfort and reassurance, yet a family with a mom and dad who are committed to marriage and devote themselves to their children helps provide children with a sound foundation for success. Government can support families by promoting policies that help strengthen the institution of marriage and help parents rear their children in positive and healthy environments. "

The Healthy Marriage and Fatherhood initiatives were allocated $150 million in 2006.

How to obtain information or request technical assistance:
Visit our ACF website
Find out about the Building Strong Families project.


Administration for Children and Families
Healthy Marriage Initiative
370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW
Washington, DC 20447
Phone: 202.260.1550
E-mail Us

Updated April 2007
Office of Public Affairs (OPA)