Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, December 6, 2001


Funding Will Promote Research for Strengthening Families

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced that Texas Tech University is a recipient of the first grants awarded through the state's Family Trust Fund program. Texas Tech will use the four grants, totaling $303,000, for research programs designed to strengthen families and assist children of broken homes. Joining Cornyn for the announcement were State Sen. Robert Duncan of Lubbock and Texas Tech University Interim Chancellor Dr. David Smith, M.D.

"Today, we are laying the groundwork for an improved way of life among families and children," Attorney General Cornyn said. "The research that will take place here at Texas Tech will have a positive statewide impact by helping find ways to reinforce family values."

Texas Tech's Department of Human Development and Family Studies will lead the research projects. The four grants include:

  • $95,433 for a study of premarital education programs to identify which ones work best with the varying and unique needs of Texas' diverse population groups
  • $49,995 for a program targeted to divorced parents, designed to help avoid the most damaging effects of divorce on young children through better communications
  • $95,109 for a pilot program designed to reduce conflicts between divorced parents and to improve understanding of child support responsibilities
  • $62,494 for a "Parenting Through Change" program for divorced Hispanic mothers and for improving parenting skills and child success rates

In 1999, Texas lawmakers, led by Sen. Duncan, created the Family Trust Fund. Three dollars of each marriage license fee is placed in a fund administered by the attorney general's office. The money has already funded the development of a premarital education handbook, which goes to every couple that applies for a marriage license in Texas. The handbook includes information on conflict management, communications skills, parenting responsibilities and financial responsibilities.

"It is gratifying to see the kind of impact that our legislative process can make on Texans," Cornyn added. "Today's families face many challenges that weren't around several generations ago, and that's likely why half the marriages end in divorce. The Family Trust Fund is an important part in turning that tide among Texas families."

An independent three-person review panel recommended Texas Tech to receive the four grants. Each application was judged on several criteria, including the potential for strengthening families following divorce and the kind of support that would be provided to children of divorce.

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