Project Relate represents an important long-term investment in improving outcomes for children. We are the only state in the nation with a statewide delivery system for educational services, and Oklahoma serves as a model public/private partnership that numerous states and community groups have sought to replicate. We are also the only state with a family-strengthening program, Family Expectations, that has been evaluated with positive impacts in two large-scale federal studies.

Benefits of this investment:



“Project Relate is in a class by itself in developing an infrastructure to deliver high-quality relationship education.” – Dr. Alan Hawkins, Brigham Young University

  • A range of relevant services
    for couples, individuals, fathers, families and youth

  • 2.2 million hours
    of service delivery to date


  • 400,000 Oklahomans
    (1 in 10 people) have taken positive steps to improve their relationship skills and resilience
  • More than 4,000 professionals
    and paraprofessionals equipped to be change-makers in their communities by offering educational workshops
  • More than 135,000 children
    are surrounded by healthier relationship behaviors as a result of their parents participating in Project Relate services


“From its inception, Project Relate has been based on the best available research. This feature makes it an example for other state marriage initiatives.” –Paul Amato, Penn State University

  • Stress between married couples decreased
  • Individual attitudes about marriage being a positive step improvedamong unmarried couples


  • Married couples experienced less psychological and physical abuse
  • Marital happiness improved
  • Couples experienced more warmth and support from each other
  • Positive communication between couples increased
  • Fidelity among program participants increased
  • Depression in mothers declined
  • 20% more couples were still together after three years than in the control group, meaning more couples are able to maintain a stable relationship.

Research shows that a 1% increase in family stability saves the state of Oklahoma $43 million.

The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce & Unwed Childbearing, First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and All Fifty States.


In all programs:

  • 3-point increase in the percentage of children living with two parents in Oklahoma, a 2.7 point decrease in the percentage of children born to single mothers, and a 1.4 point decline in the percentage of children in poverty
  • More than 96% of participants say they now have a renewed commitment to their spouse, partner or
    family and that they learned skills to communicate more effectively


  • Services are creating a generation of youth and adults who now have models for healthy relationships and who are accustomed to being active learners and information help-seekers

“Project Relate recognizes that the romantic behavior of adults, whether married or not, has dramatic implications for how children turn out.” –Scott Stanley, University of Denver


  • Systematic integration of much-needed relationship skills into the missions of state agencies, educational institutions, military service organizations, ministries and faith organizations, tribes, community groups and others to address client challenges related to relationship decisions that can assist or impede the ability to reach goals and attain self-sufficiency
  • 16% increase (from 2006 to 2011) in the number of engaged couples learning about the benefits of and seeking pre-marital education


  • Aspects of Project Relate have been replicated by agencies and organizations around the world
  • Federal Health and Human Services funded a Process Study on Project Relate (the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative) to inform practitioners and policymakers
  • Numerous scholarly journal articles and papers about innovative strategies and significant
    contributions to public policy debates about family strengthening and poverty reduction
  • Family Expectations is included in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices




We would recommend spending about $50 million of the $500 million specifically on marriage education projects that attempt to replicate and expand the approach taken in the Oklahoma program” – The Brookings Institution Fall 2010 Policy Brief: The Future of Children (regarding the current Administration’s proposed three-year marriage initiative)