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Parents and baby at ELEVATE training

About Us

We inform programming and foster partnerships that advance relationship and marriage education.

Vision

We envision a nation-wide outreach through Extension Specialists and Educators in partnership with agencies and organizations at the national, state, and community levels that supports individuals and couples preparing for, developing and enriching healthy relationships and healthy marriages.

Mission

Our mission is to provide research-based resources and promote partnerships to advance the knowledge and practice in relationship and marriage education.

Why This Call to Action?

There is mounting research evidence that trends of increasing marital and family instability are negatively impacting children, adults, families, and communities. 

Healthy couple relationships lead to family stability that benefits the physical, social, and emotional well-being of adults and children.

  • In the context of unhealthy relationships and unhealthy and unstable marriages, we find greater incidences of physical and mental illness, maltreatment among family members, delinquency among youth, and community instability.

  • There is a high level of need and interest in relationships and marriage education across a broad population, including lower-resource populations and youth.

  • Cooperative Extension has a long history of addressing marital quality in education programs.

Guiding Principles

Extension programming is grounded in theory, research, and best practices that build on individual strengths, respect diversity, and promote health and safety in couple relationships.

Our resources are research-informed, developmentally appropriate, and inclusive.

  • We use theory and research to guide our selection and development of resources.
  • We strive to develop and use materials, resources, and approaches that are responsive to cultural diversity and developmentally appropriate.
  • We approach programming from a strength-based perspective that acknowledges all individuals and couples have strengths.
  • We are inclusive in our outreach of programs and engage individuals and couples, married and non-married.
  • We acknowledge that a variety of family forms can provide healthy environments for children.
  • We use and advocate a "do no harm" approach - safety in relationships is a priority!
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