Ravell Call, Deseret News
Utah State University has been awarded a $7.6 million grant to fund relationship and fatherhood education programs.

LOGAN — Utah State University has been awarded a $7.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Family Assistance to fund relationship and fatherhood education programs.

The grant will be distributed over a five-year period. Brian Higginbotham, USU Extension associate vice president and professor in the College of Education and Human Services, will direct the project.

Higginbotham said USU Extension has been providing relationship education for nearly 10 years and has served more than 20,000 individuals.

“This new grant will build on our past successes, strong partnerships with state agencies and research-based programs,” he said. “The funding will help provide the Utah Healthy Marriage Handbook to couples applying for marriage licenses and to high schools that offer adult roles and responsibilities courses. In addition, we will serve at-risk youth who have not historically been a focus of our services.”

He added that “Love Notes,” a research-based curriculum, will be provided to youth in detention facilities, alternative high schools and the Youth in Custody program.

“Many of these youth have grown up in homes where there was abuse, neglect, high discord or poor relationship skills,” he said. “We proposed to work with these youth in an effort to instill in them the knowledge and skills necessary for healthy interpersonal relationships. These youth are currently receiving the core state education requirements, but our partnering organizations felt additional relationship and life skills could be helpful.”

Youth will receive eight hours of instruction in such areas as decision-making, conflict management, communication and recognizing abusive and unhealthy behaviors. Classes will be taught by USU Extension educators in many locations in the state.