Wichita, Kansas –Kansas City, Kansas and Wichita Diocese have been selected to deliver a program designed to strengthen marriages and provide positive results for Kansas children. The program, Marriage for Keeps, officially began operations this week in Kansas. The program is the first of its kind for Kansas, offering services to married couples with children in targeted communities.
Marriage for Keeps allows Catholic Charities to support services such as healthy marriage education by providing an array of services to include one-on-one couple supports, marriage education and activities to strengthen family bonds. Marriage for Keeps is designed to provide a variety of resources and skills training to married couples with children under age 15 in an effort to help them sustain healthy marriages, raise happier children and create more stable families. This project is part of a national study to evaluate the effects on couple relationships, ultimately improving in the lives of children.
The program will serve each couple over the course of one year and will include intensive marriage education classes, supplemental activities and events related to healthy marriages, activities to build strong bonds between married couples, family-oriented games and free presentations on topics such as financial management, health care and parenting. Participation in Marriage for Keeps is free and couples have the opportunity to participate in a national research study.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this program for Kansas,” said Joyce Webb, Ph.D, Clinical Director of Community Counseling Services, a program of Catholic Charities, Inc. Diocese of Wichita. “We believe marriage education will strengthen our families, thereby improving child well-being and our communities.”
The national study will measure the impact these services have on marital quality, marital stability and child well-being with the goal being to substantially improve the relationships of Kansas couples and the life for Kansas children. In addition, the results of the study could influence how Kansas delivers social services and especially how readily available marriage education could become across the state.
Program services and Kansas’ participation in the research study is expected to continue for about three years. Kansas is one of only eight sites across the country selected to participate in this study.
The Marriage for Keeps program will be administered by Catholic Charities, Inc. in partnership with Newman University, The Kansas Healthy Marriage Institute, Catholic Charities of Salina, Catholic Social Services of Dodge City, Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and many other state and federal educational, religious and social service institutions.
According to Dr. Mike Duxler, Marriage for Keeps program manager for Catholic Charities, Inc – Diocese of Wichita and Newman University associate professor of Social Work, “Research indicates couples can benefit from marriage education, and children raised by their married parents have better outcomes.” Duxler added, “Couples today deal with busy lives and demands, all of which impact a couple’s relationship.
“As we struggle to maintain employment, keep our bills paid and provide for our children, many times we don’t realize how various elements impact our relationships, ultimately weakening them. We want to work with families to provide them tools which can ultimately create a brighter future for them and their children.”
Marriage for Keeps staff hopes for broad ethnic diversity in the people who participate. In addition, Marriage for Keeps welcomes community members and organizations who would like to get involved with the program through a variety of volunteer opportunities. For information on volunteering, call Susan Osborne at (316) 264-8344, ext. 207.
Dodge City, Garden City, Manhattan and Salina are also participating as demonstration locations, although they will not be part of the national study. Marriage for Keeps officially began operations May 21 with scheduled sessions throughout the year. Those interested in participating should contact their local center to learn of upcoming sessions:
Joyce Webb, Ph.D, clinical director of Community Counseling Services, a program of Catholic Charities, Inc., 316-264-8344, ext. 313, e-mail: [email protected]
Mike Duxler, Ph.D, Catholic Charities, Inc. Marriage for Keeps project manager and Newman University associate professor of Social Work, 316-264-8344 x320, email [email protected]
Ed Glenn, Ph.D., Marriage for Keeps regional coordinator, 913-621-5255 ext 172, email [email protected]
Statement of Support
At Catholic Charities, we understand how the challenges facing families can affect their family relationships. Marriage for Keeps reaches out to these families, helping ensure they have resources to form and maintain healthy relationships. Through this healthy marriage initiative, research will provide necessary information on the effects of marriage education for low income families resulting in clear direction for public policy and funding considerations. In addition, families in Kansas receive valuable services during the project. Supporting our calling, Marriage for Keeps provides help and creates hope in the lives of families.