Healthy Marriage Promotion and Responsible Fatherhood Grants

Included four objectives: (1) To fund Healthy Marriage Promotion activities that will help couples, who have chosen marriage for themselves, gain greater access to marriage education services on a voluntary basis.

These services will help couples acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to form
and sustain a healthy marriage; (2) To fund Responsible Fatherhood promotion activities specifically designed to promote responsible fatherhood to reverse the rise in father absence and its subsequent impact on our nation's children.

ACF will award these funds on a competitive basis to States, territories, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, and public and nonprofit community entities, including faith-based organizations; (3) To award competitive based demonstration projects designed to test the effectiveness of tribal governments or tribal consortia in coordinating the provision to tribal families at risk of child abuse or neglect of child welfare services and services under tribal programs funded under this part; and, (4) To provide technical assistance by the Federal government to States, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, receiving a grant for any program funded under this part.
Examples of Funded Projects

Healthy Marriage Promotion grants provide married and unmarried individuals with skilled base marriage education training.

Promotion Responsible Fatherhood grants provides marriage, parenting and economic stability training.

The majority of the grant amount provides services to low-income families.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Program Accomplishments

In September 2006, ACF's Office of Family Assistance (OFA) awarded 226 grants from the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) Healthy Marriage and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood. One hundred twenty six (126) grants were for Healthy Marriage and 100 grants for Promoting Responsible Fatherhood. OFA received a total of 1,653 applications. Healthy Marriage applications totaled 828, and 825 for Responsible Fatherhood. Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grants were distributed across 47 States and 1 Territory. Grantees are currently in the implementation phase of their projects. This has resulted in a marked increase in the provision of healthy marriage and fatherhood promotional activities, marriage and parenting education, relationship and economic skills development, and training across the country.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The Secretary may not award funds on a noncompetitive basis, and may not provide any such funds to an entity for the purpose of carrying out healthy marriage promotion activities or for the purpose of carrying out activities promoting responsible fatherhood unless the entity has submitted to the Secretary an application which describes how the programs or activities proposed in the application will address, as appropriate, issues of domestic violence; and what the applicant will do, to the extent relevant, to ensure that participation in the programs or activities is voluntary, and to inform potential participants that their participation is voluntary; and contains a commitment by the entity to not use the funds for any other purpose; and to consult with experts in domestic violence or relevant community domestic violence coalitions in developing the programs and activities.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

The Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grants were awarded one time for a five-year (5) project period.

The awards were made final in September 2006 and will run for five consecutive years up through September 2011.

There are no subsequent competitive awards for this program.

Eligible organizations for Healthy Marriage Grants in general were public and private entities.

This included, but was not limited to: States; County governments; City or township governments; Special district governments; State controlled institutions of higher education; Native American tribes and tribal organizations; Nonprofit organizations; Private organizations of higher education; For-profit organizations; and faith-based and community organizations.

Application Eligibility for Responsible Fatherhood Grants included: States; territories; Indian tribes and tribal organizations; and public and non-profit community entities, including Faith-based organizations.

Application Eligibility for Tribal TANF Child Welfare TA Grants includes Native American Tribal governments.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Families, couples, individuals in need of assistance with marriage enhancement and relationship education, parenting education, economic stability services. In general these funds will assist in the efforts to enhance and expand the ability of States, Native American governments, local governments, for-profit organizations, non-profit community organizations and other public entities to provide family formation services to those in need.


Any nonprofit agency was required to provide proof of its nonprofit status through one of the following: (a) A reference to the applicant organization's listing in the Internal revenue Service's (IRS) most recent list of tax-exempt organizations described in the IRS code. (b) A copy of a currently valid IRS tax exemption certificate (c) A statement from a State taxing body, State Attorney General, or other appropriate State official certifying that the applicant organization has a nonprofit status and that none of the net earnings accrue to any private shareholders or individuals. (d) A certified copy of the organization's certificate of incorporation or similar document that clearly establishes nonprofit status. (e) Any of the items in the subparagraphs immediately above for a State or national parent organization and a statement signed by the parent organization that the applicant organization if it's local nonprofit affiliate.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.

The applicants were advised that they should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State required to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

In addition, the legislation requires that applicants consult with experts in domestic violence or relevant community domestic violence coalitions in developing their programs and activities.

Therefore, applicants were required to engage in this process before the official application is submitted.

Application Procedures

Applicants needed to complete all the standard forms required for making application for awards under this announcement. Applicants that requested financial assistance submitted Standard Forms 424, 424A, 424B and the associated certifications and assurances. Specific instructions were published in the official program announcement.

Award Procedures

Applications received by the due date were reviewed and scored competitively. Experts in the field, generally persons from outside the Federal government, used the evaluation criteria listed in Part V of the Program Announcement to review and score the applications. The results of the review were a primary factor in making funding decisions. ACF may also solicit comments from Regional Office staff and other Federal agencies. ACF may consider a variety of factors in addition to the review criteria identified above, including geographic diversity/coverage and types of applicant organizations, in order to ensure that the interests of the Federal Government are met in making the final selections. The successful applicants were notified through issuance of a Financial Assistance Award document which set forth the amount of funds granted, the terms and conditions of the grant, the budget period for which initial support will be given, the nonfederal share to be provided, and the total project period for which support is contemplated.


The Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grant deadlines have closed. All awards for these programs were made in September 2006. The grants were one time for a five-year (5) period through September 2011. No other applications are being accepted and no future funding is anticipated.


Social Security Act, Title IV, Part A, Section 403(a)(2) as included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), Public Law 109-171.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time: All grants were approved/disapproved within the 60-90 day period.




Awards were made for five-year project periods, funding for years 2 thru 5 are not competitive and will depend upon satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Cost sharing or matching requirements were provided in the official program announcement.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The grants were awarded for project periods of up to five years. Awards, however, were made on a competitive basis, for a one-year budget period. Applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the one-year budget period but within the five-year project period will be entertained in subsequent years on a noncompetitive basis, subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the grantee and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the government.

Post Assistance Requirements


Grant recipients are required to submit semi-annual program reports; grantees are also required to submit semi-annual expenditure reports using the required financial standard form (SF-269) which is located on the Internet under the "Forms" section at:

A suggested format for the program report is sent to all grantees after the awards are made.


Audits are conducted in accordance with the requirements in 45 CFR 74 and 92. These provisions are also outlined in OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 24, 1997), Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, non-federal entities that receive financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from the Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


All financial records are to be maintained for 3 years after termination of the project or until audit is completed, whichever occurs first.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $150,000,000; FY 08 $150,000,000; and FY 09 est $150,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Healthy Marriage Grants range from $250,000 to $3,250,000 depending on the scope of the project. Average award: $1,000,000. Responsible Fatherhood Grants will range from $200,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the scope of the project. Average award: $700,000. Tribal TANF Child Welfare Grants will range from $25,000 to $100,000. Average Award: $140,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Office of Family Assistance (OFA), Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, 5th Floor East, Washington, DC 20447. Contact: Robin McDonald; Telephone: (202) 401-5587 (office); Fax: (202) 205-5887.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The criteria used for selecting successful proposals were as follows: approach, objectives and need for assistance, organizational profiles, evaluation and budget and budget justification. The needs of target populations to be served and the needs of communities to be served are factors for evaluating the objectives and need for assistance of the applicant. The staff and position data and past experience were factors used to evaluate the organizational profile of the applicant. Applicants were evaluated under the budget and budget justification criteria on the extent to which they include a budget that is clear, easy to understand, and provided a detailed justification for the amount requested. Under the approach criterion, applicants were evaluated on the extent to which the specific goals and activities of the proposed project were highly innovative, reasonable, quantified, and directly support the authorized activities outlined in the legislation. The official evaluation criteria were published as a part of the program announcement, which was posted at and Applications for discretionary grants were subject to a competitive peer review process leading to recommendations for approval or disapproval.

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