Marriage Programs May Get Aid; Welfare Bill Could Provide Federal Funding

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 30, 2006 | Go to article overview

Marriage Programs May Get Aid; Welfare Bill Could Provide Federal Funding


Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Attending a government-funded marriage-strengthening program in Baltimore has led to some "nice candlelit dinners" with her fiance, Nakia Staton said at a Capitol Hill forum.

It's also been helpful to learn "how to calm myself down" and turn toward each other, not away from each other in times of stress, she said as Terry Brown, the father of her young children, watched with a smile.

"And you learned how not to clock him with a frying pan," joked Joe Jones, president of the Center for Fathers, Families and Workforce Development (CFWD).

The couple and the audience laughed at this and other comments about love and marriage at Friday's forum, which was sponsored by the Brookings Institution, CFWD and the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI).

Pro-marriage programs such as OMI and CFWD may soon be getting a major boost from the federal government. This week, the House is expected to consider a deficit-reduction bill that would reauthorize welfare reform and create a $150-million-a-year healthy-marriage grant program.

Up to $50 million of the annual funds can be used for "responsible fatherhood" programs and up to $2 million for child welfare, according to an analysis by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

Unlike earlier welfare proposals, states will not be required to match federal marriage dollars with state funds.

However, state agencies and groups seeking federal marriage funds must describe how they will address issues of domestic violence as part of their application, CLASP said. …

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