HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance (OFA) announced the first year awards of nearly $60 million towards Healthy Marriage programs nationwide.
Being one of only two grantees in Houston and among the six in Texas to receive the Community-Centered Healthy Marriage and Relationships Grant, AVANCE will receive four annual sums of $799, 999.00; which was the maximum amount available per grantee. This will enable the agency to run the Healthy Marriage program for four years.
AVANCE’S previous Healthy Marriages programs have successfully exceeded unit goal expectations and received numerous awards. “There is a need for these services and we will continue to work hard to serve families in need” said Jose Villarreal, AVANCE - Houston's Executive Director.
Currently the agency serves 2000 head start children, and has a waiting list of 6000 applicants. AVANCE encourages those families to take advantage of the program which will be offered in English and Spanish to 500 families per year in the community.
The goal of this new Healthy Marriage initiative is to strengthen relationships, decrease divorce rates, improve well-being of children and families and engage fathers in their children’s education. In addition, the program will provide job readiness and coaching services to improve the families’ economic stability. AVANCE will partner with SER Jobs for Progress and Houston Community College System for these services.
The program will be offered at various locations including centers within the 18th Congressional District, where AVANCE currently operates 9 of 17 centers in Houston. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has supported AVANCE’s efforts by securing funding to continue strengthening and developing stronger communities.
Since moving to the Northwest Houston neighborhoods from the East End in 2000, AVANCE - Houston has attracted an estimated $195 million in state and federal dollars into the area.
AVANCE offers other programs such as Parenting, Fatherhood, ESL, Computer Literacy, GED and resources such as mentoring, college readiness and scholarships to help students move forward to college. The Healthy Marriage program will begin January 2012.
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Unlocking America’s potential by strengthening families in at-risk communities through effective parent education and support programs. AVANCE is one of the odlest and most distingusished parenting-early chilhood programs in the the country.