Moderator: Patrick Patterson, NRFC Manager
- Eugene Schneeberg: Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, U.S. Department of Justice
- Tasseli McKay: RTI International
- Marvin Charles: DADS Program, Seattle, WA
Webinar Transcript (Provided by PGi Global)
Operator: Please stand by. Your webinar is about to begin. If you should need assistance today, please press star then zero.
Good day and welcome to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse conference call. Today’s conference is being recorded.
At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Patrick Patterson. Please go ahead, sir.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you so much. Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse’s July webinar entitled, “Effective Strategies for Working with Fathers Returning from Prison.”
Just as background, we have for the last couple of months been asking Web topics due to practitioners’ programs member of the public want to hear about and this is one of our highest rated topics which is why we’re bringing this to you, guys, today.
My name is Patrick Patterson. I’m the Manager for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and I’m delighted to be your moderator for today’s webinar.
We have three perspectives that we’re going to cover today. One will be that of the federal perspective on working with fathers returning from prison re-entry. The second is the research perspectives. We’ve got some new information in regards to how these programs have operated but also success. And then last but not least, you’re going to hear from the practice level, how on the ground does this look with programs.
Before I go any further, I want you just orient for our new visitors, our new orient numbers what the clearinghouse is. The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse is an Office of Family Assistance-funded resource for fathers, practitioners, programs/federal grantees, states, and the public at-large who are serving or interested in supporting strong fathers and families.
Our director is Kenneth Braswell and I’d like to give his email address because we always solicit input from this field, it is kenneth – KENNETH – .braswell – BRASWELL – @gmail.com. And again, my name is Patrick Patterson, I’m the manager, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
The goals for the clearinghouse are as follows. We aim to provide, facilitate, and disseminate current research, proven and innovative strategies that will encourage and strengthen fathers and families, and providers of services via the following priorities.
A robust website – if you haven’t visited, our website is www.fatherhood.gov
. We thought we could make it as robust as possible. We will encourage you if you go in the site, you see things that you like, we’d love to hear that, if you think there are things that are missing, we’d love you to offer those to us as well. You can send it to us and try to get it posted on the website.
Our second priority is an annual media campaign. Some of you are aware that this past year, we did a very large effort and it was very successful around Fatherhood Buzz working with barbershops, we’re promoting Father's Day weekend Barbershops.
Social media is very new for the clearinghouse and in this year, we just launched for the first time ever Facebook as well as Twitter accounts for the clearinghouse. You can find us on Twitter at fatherhoodgov and you can go on Facebook and you’d find us at fatherhoodgov as well. We’d love for you to follow us and also like us, friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Continue in terms of priorities are to develop and disseminate written products that advance the field. We have a number of products that we’re running now using experts in the field that we’ll be releasing but we also like to share what you all have done in terms of products, written products as well. And so it’s one of our major activities.
Outreach and presentations at conferences and events is a priority. And last but not least, I’d like to highlight a resource that we have for years that we’re deepening now how to use is our 1800 number.
We have a call center that is free to public and is available for practitioners to call with questions about program operations, technical assistance and challenges. Expect them daily in our new effort this year, we’ve added a bank of supporters who can actually receive and process calls from dads who have questions regarding personal matters. And so that number is 1-877-4DAD411 – 1-877-4DAD411.
We have a number of folks who called and just want to make sure you’re all aware of that today. As you leave this call or this webinar, you can definitely put that in the hands of fathers who may have issues and we can actually address their issues.
Last but not least, we pride ourselves on providing virtual resources to the field and one of those being like today’s webinar. And so we’re very excited to have you join us. We want to give you at least that orientation to the clearinghouse as we’ll continue to be a resource for fathers and families but also for the field at large.
Next slide, Matt. Our presenters for today, I gave you kind of a high point but I’ll mention each of them individually at this point, are threefold again, the federal perspective brought to you by my dear colleague and friend, Eugene Schneeberg. He is the director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the U.S. Department of Justice here in D.C.
Our second presenter is Tasseli McKay. She will bring you the research perspective. She’s an RTI International in Durham, North Carolina.
And last but not least, the practice perspective, on the ground, will be brought to by Marvin Charles. He’s from the DADS program in Seattle, Washington.
A few housekeeping notes before we get started. This webinar is being recorded. For those of you that take notes, so you can relax if you like. You just listen but also just want you to be aware that this is being recorded.
All of our presentations and materials would be recorded and also posted on fatherhood.gov
within two weeks from today’s webinar. So you’d be able to access that within two weeks.
I want to also orient some of you that maybe new to using (Ruminant) technology to how you submit questions. We have the pleasure of being able to have our presenters present and you can ask questions without interrupting them.
After we finish each of the presentations at the very end, we’re going to read all the questions that you might as many of them as we can that you might have during the presentation. And so I want to orient you, guys, on how to submit a question.
So if we can, Matt, would you talk to that process?
Matthew Crews: Absolutely, thank you, Patrick.
As you can see on your screen right there, it’s pointing to the upper left-hand corner of your Live Meeting screen. You can click on the Q&A tool. Once you click on that, that box will pop up. Type your question in the top box and then you simply click on Ask to submit your question to the moderator. Again, your question wouldn't be answered immediately. It will be answered at the duration of the call today once we have our Q&A session.
Some other technical issues, if your screen is too small, hit F5 and it will fully enlarge it. But however, if you do want to ask a question, you can have your screen fully enlarged. You have to hit F5 or Escape again to bring it back to the original view.
And again, if you’re interested in today’s slides, they will be up on the website in two weeks and if you want them sooner than that, email us at Help@FatherhoodGov.Info
and we will get those right over to you. And that’s all. Back to you, Patrick.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you, Matt. So I encourage you if you have questions as we start here in the presentation, please submit them at the very end. I’m going to facilitate a Q&A process. We’ll ask as many of the questions as we can to our presenters.
For today, we have three objectives for our webinar. This person is by the end of today’s webinar, we’d love for our attendees to have an understanding of federal Department of Justice prisoner re-entry a priorities supports and guidance.
Our second objective is by the end of today’s webinar, our attendees will have an understanding of the research findings from the review of prisoner re-entry a programs that just eclipsed this past couple of years.
And then last but not least, we’d love for our participants today to have a better understanding of respective strategies and lessons learned from a program that has successfully helped in fathers who are returning from prison.
So with that, we’ll start with our first presenter. As I’ve mentioned earlier, our first presenter is Mr. Eugene Schneeberg. By introduction, Mr. Schneeberg helps coordinate between the White House and Department of Justice’s effort to outreach and partner with faith-based and non-profit organizations around the country.
And his role at the Department of Justice, he works to advance the goals of the President's National Fatherhood & Mentoring initiative, assists in the coordination of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and serves on the Federal Interagency Re-entry Council.
He came to the Obama Administration after working for almost a decade as the Director of Operations for Straight Ahead Ministries a national faith-based juvenile justice non-profit in Greater Boston.
He received his undergraduate degree in Urban Affairs from Boston University. Eugene was raised in Roxbury, Massachusetts and is married to his wife, Deitra. They have two sons, Eugene Jr., and Elijah, and one daughter, Genesis.
With that, I’ll bring you Eugene Schneeberg.
Eugene Schneeberg: Thank you very much, Patrick and I really appreciate the opportunity to join this informative webinar and I know like everyone on this webinar, I actually have my pen and pad out and excited about learning new information and insights. I’m just particularly glad to be able to join with Ms. McKay and Mr. Charles to hear about the research component and hear from practitioners on the ground as well.
Next slide. This slide is probably not new to most of you but we are in a crisis. More than 24 million children live without their biological fathers in this country and that breaks out about one in three children. That number is even higher for African-American children.
Thirty nine point three percent of single mother families live in poverty but on the 8.8 percent of father present and live in poverty.
At the Department of Justice, we’re particularly concerned about the impacts of father absence as it relates to criminal justice matters and looking at the fact that children who are raised without fathers or adolescents are much more likely to engage in criminal behavior, are much more likely to use drugs, are much more likely to be teen parents.
So we believe at the Department of Justice that if we can proactively support efforts to strengthen families and strengthen fathers particularly around those who are incarcerated and those returning from incarceration that we believe this would be a good investment.
Next slide. Now, at the Department of Justice, as Patrick said, I head up the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, I just want to share a little bit of background briefly about our focus areas.
First, we concentrate on the issues of preventing youth in getting violence throughout the country and we do that through a vehicle called the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. We’re working with cities throughout the nation to help the come up with comprehensive plans to prevent youth violence.
I have done this work for a long time working with young people in juvenile facilities and I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of those youth were in gangs and in juvenile facilities from father-absent homes.
Secondly, jumping ahead, we work on the issue of prisoner re-entry. I’m sure that most of the people on the phone know that here in the United States, we incarcerate more people than any other country in the United States.
And we’re at a point where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of individuals are being released from incarceration every year from our state and federal facilities and over 9 million cycles through local county jails every year and we’re at a point where there is bipartisan recognition that as a country, we need to face head on this issue of prisoner re-entry.
And lastly and the part of my job that I like working on the most is we’re supporting the President's Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative and that’s what brought me here today.
Next slide. Now, many of you probably know that President Obama was raised without his father and saw first-hand the impact of father absence had on working at the community organized on the south side of Chicago.
And ever since he’s been in public office whether he was legislator in Illinois or at the U.S. Senate or now as the president of the United States, he’s taking very seriously this issue of father absence.
And one of the first acts he did on becoming president was to launch the President's Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative and he oftentimes say that being a father to Sasha and Malia is the most important job he has.
Likewise, my boss up here at the Department of Justice Attorney General Holder is also deeply committed to the issue of responsible fatherhood. He recently spoke to a group of Champions of Change that were recognized at the White House and there’s a quote here where he says, “Of all the titles I’ve had held in my life – lawyer, prosecutor, judge, U.S. Attorney, and now, Attorney General, the one I’m most proud of is father.”
And I think both President Obama and Attorney General Holder hold the same deep commitment to making sure that families and fathers in this country are – have the support that they need to move forward.
As part of that effort, we’ve gone throughout the country and hosted Fatherhood Heroes throughout the country. You see a photo Ken Braswell and Dwayne Wade and my boss at the White House, Joshua DuBois, on the bottom right corner. He called those the Fatherhood Heroes events.
We hear far too often in the statistics about father absence and all the negatives – negatives associated with it, those are true, but there are probably a majority or overwhelming amount of dads who were just doing the right thing day in and say out sticking it out, changing diapers, reading for their kids and these Fatherhood Heroes events we go throughout the country and the White House recognizes everyday dads doing extraordinary things.
Next slide. Recently – and I really encourage you to get this link that’s on the right side of the slide – the White House released a report about the efforts in details of this, the Obama administration’s effort to promote Responsible Fatherhood and the tagline is, “Every father taking responsibility for his child’s intellectual, emotional, financial well being.”
I don’t have the time to go into detail about this report but I will just say that it’s a great read, there are tons of useful information about what’s going on throughout the administration and I encourage you all to download it, it’s in a PDF on the slide as well.
Next slide. President Obama has called members of the various federal agencies to join the Fatherhood Interagency Working Group. In here, we have 11 partner agencies that are committed to identifying how their agencies can be more father-friendly, how they can take consideration perhaps unintended consequences of policies that might adversely affect fathers and families.
And so you can see just a sampling of the agencies that are involved in addition to Department of Justice, Labor, Veterans Affairs, Education, Commerce, Agriculture, HUD and others.
The work of the federal interagency working group focuses on promoting father involvement, creating and sustaining stable families, intervening during early childhood and reconnecting disconnected dads, research and evidence-based practices.
And again, and as I – as you download that report that the White House put out just a few weeks ago, very new information. All these agencies are represented in the next slide.
Let’s talk a little bit about our Fatherhood Heroes events and here are a couple of shots from them. But we’ve also done now for the second year in a row at the White House during the week of Father’s Day, we brought together a diverse set of practitioners and leaders and everyday dads and women who are supportive of Responsible Fatherhood, we recognized them at the White House in a venue that we called Champions of Changes.
And if you’re looking for more information about who we recognize as champions, you can go to www.whitehouse.gov/champions
. There, you can read the blogs and learn more about great work that’s being done all throughout the country on behalf of dads and families.
And I think it’s worth nothing that when we talk about Responsible Fatherhood, we’re not just talking about dads but we’re talking about moms and women who are supporters of Responsible Fatherhood as well.
Next slide. I want to transition to a couple initiatives that the Department of Justice has funded– the first being fatherhood course program. Throughout the country, there are a number of courses taking up the charge to look at issues of men coming home from incarceration who have children who have minor children. Many of whom face astronomical arrearages for child support.
And there’s a model that many courses adapted throughout the country and there’s a report that you can link to and download on this slide that have adapted an approach to supporting dad and moms who have minor children who also have child support orders.
And essentially the model in the nutshell is one in which – excuse me – dads and moms are encouraged and supported to find employment upon their release. They’re not just told, “Hey,” by their probation officer or what have you that they need to get a job, but there are actual supports that are built into the fathering course.
They’re provided with family counseling if that’s needed, they’re provided with job training, job placement support, and also, they get the advantage of having for a temporary period there, in many cases, their child support orders reduced to something – to a level at which they can pay.
As any of you know on many of these folks come out of the incarceration, they don’t yet have an income and in many cases, it’s inappropriate to expect them to pay a large amount of child support when they have no income.
So I know particularly the D.C. fathering course headed up by Judge Milton Lee, I believed they’ve said their payments at initial stage at $50 per month and then it goes up incrementally from there.
They also help with things like helping to re-obtain a driver’s license in which we all know is essential for employment.
So for the sake of time, I’m going to just try to fly through the remaining slides but I’ll leave my co presenters plenty of time.
Next slide. Another effort that the Department of Justice has funded is on an effort out of the National Fatherhood Initiatives called InsideOut Dad, a program for incarcerated fathers.
Many of you fatherhood practitioners on the line are probably familiar with this curriculum. It’s one of the most wildly circulated curriculum for fatherhood programs within state facilities throughout the country.
There are many states that have adopted this as a standard curriculum throughout the state. I encourage you all to look at the InsideOut Dad curriculum which really says to dads that even though they can't physically be there with their children, there are many things that they can do to continue to maintain those relationships even from behind bars and it also encourages them to look introspectively at their lives and at their parenting history and project forward a vision for what type of dads they’ll be in the future. So I encourage you to look at the National Fatherhood Initiative’s InsideOut Dad curriculum.
Next slide. Here are some other efforts going on from other federal agencies. As I opened up and I said that this administration has been one that really focuses on collaborating and sharing information across agencies.
And so my colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services have funded both Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriage Grants and those are ongoing throughout the country. I know that National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse is working closely with many of those grantees.
Also the Office of Child Support Enforcement has undergone a considerable amount of transformation under the leadership of Vicki Turetsky who is really looking to not only look at child support enforcement, the enforcement angle and the collection angle, but really to look at child support as a service delivery mechanism to support dads, moms and families. And so we’re excited about efforts that are going on there at the Office of Child Support Enforcement.
Also, I think in the last webinar we’ve had, if you’ve heard from my colleague, Ben Seigel at the Department of Labor, I encourage you all – who haven’t seen that webinar to download that and listen to it, but they – the Department of Labor, they fund to the tune of about $40 million grants to help non-custodial parents and ex-offenders to transitional jobs program.
And lastly, I’ll talk about our Second Chance Act Grants that – we’ll be focused on providing support for only incarcerated individuals through mentoring, substance abuse support. And in particular, I want to highlight a special category that were funded for the first time last year which was to provide mentoring to formerly incarcerated individuals who have minor children.
It’s the first time that that category of funding was funded through the Department of Justice and I think it speak volumes to DOJ’s commitment to support fathers as they return from incarceration.
There’s a quote here – next slide – from a participant in the program out of New Mexico called PB&J, a gentleman named, Frankie says, he was motivated to get clean by the possibility of losing a son.
About 18 months before his release, he signed up for mentoring to PB&J’s family services. The group brought Frankie’s son seven at the time of his dad’s incarceration for prison for regular visits and supported them during and after visits.
His PB&J mentors and caseworkers have helped Frankie focus on sobriety and he’s now been clean for 4-1/2 years. In addition to providing parenting classes, PB&J have helped Frankie as a father and he says and I quote, “They prepared me to face up to everything I’ve done.”
And this is just, you know, a great example of what we hope at the Department of Justice are – the outcomes we’re looking for in terms of strengthening families and the ties between fathers and their children.
Next slide. Another effort I want to provide is the work of the National – excuse me – the National Re-Entry Resource Center as well as the Federal Interagency Re-Entry Council. We’ve come up with this tool which I hope would be helpful and we put it here for you to download.
It’s a set of – think about 25 myth busters. When we say myth busters, we mean these are the most widely held myths associated with what formerly incarcerated individuals can and cannot do. And we have myth busters around parental rights, housing, education, federal financial leaves, Social Security, snack benefit, tennis benefit, employment.
And what we’ve tried to do is (stated) the myths and also clarify what the facts are so he’s been extremely popular throughout the country. On the site, we’d able to share them with you today. They’re available for download at the National Re-Entry Resource Center which is a great site.
And the Federal Re-Entry Council that put these together is made up of about 20 federal agencies that have all come together to look at this issue of re-entry (to their land). It’s chaired by my boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, and has deep, deep commitment on behalf of this administration to the issue of re-entry.
Next slide. Lastly, I provided you all with some links to some of the things that I’ve referenced in this presentation, to the Federal Interagency Re-Entry Council, to the National Re-Entry Resource Center, the information about the Second Chance Act Mentoring Grants.
Also, there’s a link to our site at the Department of Justice Faith-based Office. Please check that out. There’s a ton more information that I couldn’t fit into this presentation. We’ve also listed useful funding link.
Lastly as I close, what I didn’t tell you about myself and what Patrick didn’t mention in my introduction is that I’m – I think he mentioned that I’m a father of three and I’m very proud to be, you know, a loving husband and loving father.
But he what he didn’t mention is that I like far too many young people in this country also who live without my father and in fact whose dad never met. And so not only is this a professional interest and a vocation but it’s also a personal call. And so Patrick, thank you so much for allowing me to join.
And please reach out to our office. Our contact information is on the slide and on the link to our website. We look forward to hearing from you if you have more questions. Thank you.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you, Eugene. That was very dynamic but also I think you gave us plenty of information through all the resources from the federal perspective and there are a number of questions that we have for you when we do our Q&A session. So thank you again for that.
Our next presenter is Tasseli McKay. Tasseli is a research analyst from RTI International in Durham, North Carolina. She is an analyst in the Crime, Violence and Justice Policy Research Program at RTI, a nonprofit research institute.
She has managed – and this is very important regarding what she’s going to share today – she has managed the eight-year national evaluation of Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Re-Entering Fathers and their Partners since its inception.
And so today, she will share some of the findings from that but also some of the research that kind of equips us with how we do this work moving forward. So with that, Tasseli, the time is yours.
Tasseli McKay: Thank you so much for that introduction and thanks very much for having me on the call. It’s really a pleasure to be here with you all.
Next slide, please. So I think Eugene did a pretty fantastic job on his introduction of making the case for why provide these kinds of services to incarcerated and re-entering dads and their kids.
As he mentioned, a tremendous number of U.S. children are affected by the incarceration of a father and research shows unequivocally that these children face a number of problems associated with the incarcerated of their dad.
Although recognition of this problem is becoming more and more widespread and as he mentioned, the federal government has been doing a number of things to encourage it to be addressed.
There are several barriers that have really persisted in preventing programs from successfully serving these dads and their kids. Very few of them exist, there is a real difficulty sometimes in bridging the gap between correctional probation and parole agencies that service justice-involved men and the human services agencies, community faith-based organizations and out in the neighborhood who are often involved in service delivery on streets.
And in addition, those parenting programs that have attempted to work with incarcerated or re-entering dads and their kids sometimes haven’t been able to work with their co-parents, with their mothers who may have been in most cases are caring for those children during the father’s incarceration.
Next slide, please. So for this very reason, the federal Department of Health and Human Services funded the initiative that Patrick just mentioned in the introduction. So 12 grantees were funded from 2006 and they came from a variety of different sectors. Some of them were state Department of Corrections, some were county or state human services agencies and some were community faith-based organizations.
Almost all of them delivered services in state prisons and all of them serve incarcerated and re-entering dads who self-identified as being in a committed romantic or a committed co-parenting relationship.
Some of them focused on dads who were first coming into a term of incarceration with the idea of trying to preserve parent-child and parent-co-parent relationships that may have been relatively intact prior to a long-term incarceration and some programs did the opposite, focus on dads who were approaching release and solvent through the pre-release and community re-entry process.
Next slide. So recognizing this was a relatively pioneering effort, the Department of Health and Human Services funded a long-range national evaluation Office of Family Assistance and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation jointly funded and continue to oversee an evaluation that includes all 12 grantees in an implementation or process study as well as a five-site impact study.
And this is a relatively remarkable contribution to the field because as part of our impact study, we interviewed incarcerated men who are incarcerated at baseline then we went out and recruited their partners and co-parents in the community and these sets of couples are currently participating in a longitudinal survey with interviews at baseline nine months, 18 months and 34 months post-baseline. So we have over 2,000 incarcerated men and almost 1,500 of their partners.
Next slide, please. As you can see, our cohort includes predominantly fairly impacted families. So because of the inclusion criteria for participants served in these grants, the impact study cohort which includes specifics for a comparison control group consists of incarcerated men who had a committed parenting partner whom they were able to identify at the time the baseline survey.
So most of these guys were in fairly intact relationships and overwhelmingly, they had minor children. On average, they had about two children and the average age of those children was fairly young, about eight years old.
Next slide, please. So I’m just going to be sharing some baseline data with you today from our impact study and then we’ll be talking about findings from our process study about what the grantees actually did with these folks.
So at baseline, you can see that rates of contact between dads and their children during incarceration were relatively low. So these rates are for the proportion of dads whoever during their current incarceration had had even a single phone call, ever received or set a single piece of mail, ever participated in even one personal visit with their child.
And you can see across the five sites only a little bit over half of these dads have had any personal contact with their children at any point in their current incarceration.
Interestingly and in a way that maybe relatively promising, there was a lot of variation among the five sites, so fathers in Minnesota, only about 22 percent of them had ever had a personal visit during their incarceration whereas in New York, 64 percent had.
Next slide, please. So we ask these dads and moms what were the most significant barriers that affected parent-child contact during the incarceration and they agreed with one another that there were three really significant barriers, so geography and transportation was one, the prison environment itself was another and the high cost of calling from a prison was the third.
Next slide, please. Grantees provided a host of different parenting related support for these dads. So almost all sites provided parenting education and a number of them used the InsideOut Dads curriculum that Eugene mentioned earlier. Typically, they provided multi-session courses, maybe once a week and usually, these were offered to dads only.
Many also supported caregivers, mothers and children in participating in-person visitation. So some of them created child-friendly visitation centers to create an environment for children to be in at a prison that was more hospitable, less frightening, more conducive to healthy parent-child interaction. Some of them provided coaching during visit time or help with just the logistics and paperwork of setting up a visit and the expenses such as gas or bus there.
Sites also provided some help with child support and parental rights. So helping dads who as some of you may know and some sites have their parental rights automatically terminated during an incarceration helping them to either establish or maintain their parental rights during incarceration, helping to address the issue of untenable child support arrears and/or child support orders upon release and helping them get a driver’s license after release.
And then there were also some creative ways a site helped dads and children who may not have been able to participate in regular in-person visits with things like video visiting, providing supplies for letter-writing and providing services to allow dads to record an audio tape or a DVD with a message or story onto their kids.
Next slide, please. So this is the picture of a dad in New Hampshire who has provided permission for his photograph to be shared. He is participating here in a video visit with his child.
Next slide, please. As I mentioned earlier, in an attempt to address a significant gap in engaging co-parents in services for justice-involved fathers, these 12 grantees also all delivered some form of relationship or co-parenting support, so a way of engaging the mothers who are on the outside during the incarceration and the re-entry process.
So that was really important distinguishing feature of these programs. They all provided relationship education, courses, and some of those also provided relationship or family counseling, relationship skills coaching, those kinds of things.
Many also provided couples-based case management before and after release into the community. Sites also delivered a variety of services to support economic stability so some of these were educational services like financial literacy classes, using curricula like the Fannie Mae curriculum or much more hands on assistance like job skills assessment and actual job development and job placement for men who are going back into the community.
Some other support services that they provided and some sites were empowerment training, life skill classes and group cognitive behavioral therapy – so you may have heard of moral reconation therapy and other modalities that are specifically designed for use of justice-involved men,
Next slide, please. So lessons learned, I can't possibly capture in a nutshell how much these grantees learned over the five years that they were delivering services. They really were pioneers in the field and they work incredibly hard to adapt their programs to what was a really challenging service delivery setting.
Here are just a few of the things that they learned. One was that it’s difficult to engage mothers and co-parents in this programming sometimes but one thing that seem to work really well was to emphasize the benefits to children.
So there may be trouble in the romantic relationship but mothers and co-parents were also very responsive when it came to rebuilding co-parenting relationships for the sake of their child. This doesn’t mean to necessarily encouraging reformation of a romantic relationship but encouraging healthy co-parent communication and encouraging healthy father-child interactions.
It was also really important that co-parents get support with both participating in the program and in getting themselves and their children to and from the prison and to really involve them, so most of these sites involve standing relationship education courses as well as in real nitty-gritty planning for the re-entry process, so family group conferencing was one approach that a number of sites used.
It was also really important for sites to support parent-child contact during incarceration both for the sake of the kids as well as for the sake of the dads. The participants that we spoke with across sites reported over and over that this was one of the most popular components of the programs that provided it and that having the opportunity for positive contact with their children motivated them not only to stay in the program and complete the other program components but really provided a potent motivator for re-entry success overall.
Sites also provided a lot of other parenting support and those were fairly popular and seemed to be successful from the perspective of participants and grantees. So skill building exercises, parenting education and particularly focusing on skills that are relevant for dads who were involved with the justice system.
So not trying to take generic fatherhood content and deliver it to guys in prison and say, “Well, this part doesn’t apply to you because you’re locked out but you could do the sort of thing,” really providing tailored content that was specifically relevant for dads in their situation.
And finally, there are a couple of organization level things that were crucial for success, building really healthy partnerships among correctional agencies, community-based organizations and domestic violence agencies because these families do seem to face an elevated risk for domestic violence during the re-entry period, and to plan for the constraints of correctional environment and just be ready to adapt and adapt it.
Next slide, please. So our final implementation side of the report is coming up shortly and our impact study follow-up is going to be continuing through 2013. We’re very excited about being (in early finance) from both of those.
And on the next slide, you’ll see our study website where all of our publications to-date are available and where forthcoming reports from the final implementation study and the impact study that’s still underway will be made available as they are released by HHS.
And here’s contact information for me, for our federal project officers and for a couple other members of our team at RTI.
And with that, I will turn it back over to Patrick.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you, Tasseli. You have a number of questions that came in while you’re presenting. I’m looking forward to the Q&A. Including kind of the differences between the programs, what were the things that were in common or were different approaches. So I’m looking forward to your responses to those questions. So thank you again.
Tasseli McKay: All right.
Patrick Patterson: Before we go to our last presenter, we’re getting some questions in I want to also make sure everybody have a sense of how some of the questions we are going to ask. Matt, if you would, could you introduce us to that process? Matt?
Matthew Crews: Sure. For those of you who may have missed earlier during the presentation or just joining us, to ask a question, click in the upper left-hand corner on the Q&A sign, once you click on that, that box will pop up, type your question at the top of the box and then click Ask to submit the question.
You’ll receive a confirmation from the moderator and again, we’ll be asking all of these questions at the duration of the last presentation. Back to you, Patrick.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you, Matt.
Last but not least is from the practitioner perspective on the ground, he’s been doing this for a long time, is Marvin Charles. Many of you know him from Seattle but also nationally as one of the leading program practitioners in this work.
Marvin is co-founded co-founder, executive director of DAD – stands for Divine Alternatives for Dads. He’s based in Seattle, Washington. Marvin and his wife, Jeanett, started DADS in their living room in 1998 to strengthen the support for fathers and that to build a better world for their children.
With the focus on helping fathers recovering from addiction coming out of prison or just dealing with the difficulties of life, they have applied the lessons learned during their own recovery to help others put their families back together.
They have both been homeless, unemployed addicts, operating beyond the reach of the formal economy and had lost several of their children to the foster care system and were facing termination of parental rights when a CPS – Child Protective Services – worker came and gave them a 90-day deadline to become sober, find housing and find employment.
Today, they live in their own home with four children and Marvin has helped many fathers follow in his footsteps. He has become a passionate and respected leader in his community and has traveled all over the U.S. giving inspirational speeches, working with other community leaders and sharing his success with the DADS program and creating string fathers and healthier families.
With that, I bring you Marvin Charles. Marvin, the time is yours.
Marvin Charles: Thank you, Patrick, and it is a great honor indeed to be presenting with some great presenters. I’m really feeling humbled that I have this opportunity to speak to you.
And let me just say that I’ll be speaking from practitioners perspective and I need to know – I don’t have the numbers and what not but what I do have is a heart for the work that we’ve done and so I’ll be walking through this process of maybe sharing some of the stories with you.
You know, Effective Strategies for Working with Fathers Returning from Prison, we sadly call that putting a face on the absent father.
Next slide. You know, one of the things I want to just open up is, do you know anything about the AIDS virus? We say, fatherlessness is like the AIDS virus. You know anything about AIDS, you know AIDS doesn’t necessarily kill you. What it does is it breaks down your immune system and then the infection that you catch is usually what commits to your (demise).
But what we say, fatherlessness is the same way because if you take a fatherlessness family, the family doesn’t die, but what it does it open the family up for infections – teenage pregnancy, ((inaudible)) behavior, gang violence. Those are the things that kill the family.
So one of the things that we find out I think that’s probably necessary for me to explain to you is that we don’t necessarily go into the prison, what we do, Jeanett and I, we go into the halfway house. The halfway house is where the men wind up when they are returning back into the community.
And there are a number of stipulations that are put on these folks when they’re returning back in the community and this is what we feel that we get the most productivity out of it simply because with the tools that we offered them, they are able to put those tools in practice.
Now, one of the big issues facing these men is the child support piece and mostly we’ve talked about it already but I want to just go ahead deeper.
One of the things that most folks don’t know is how they’ve got caught up in the child support system in the first place. Most of them don’t know that when their mother became pregnant which was her right, and I make sure I explain that to the guys, that she went to the (Tenet Office).
In ((inaudible)) communities, mothers who are low income go to (Tenet Office), ask for help. And the (Tenet Office) that (BFA says) usually ask them what the father’s name and the father’s name has been passed onto the prosecutor attorney’s office. The prosecutor attorney’s office sends that father a letter.
Well, we all know if you live a life like I live under the margin, under the radar, no good news come from the prosecutor attorney’s office so therefore that letter doesn’t get answered. And when that letter doesn’t get answered, the (Tenet Office) state the right to impute a wage and it’s usually a high end.
I’m paraphrasing a little bit here but we tried to explain that process to these men so they get a better understanding of how – a lot of times, they believe that the mother ((inaudible)) child support and we tried to dispel that myth. That’s not how it happened. So the frame of mind or the thought process you have about whether the mother turned to you or not is one of those – I think I heard somebody said early, one of those myths – myth busters.
So on next slide, and so what we tried to do, we call ourselves assistance navigators and what we tried to do is really help guys understand systems. Another system that we tried to help them understand is the (parenting plan) – a guy comes out and said, “I want full custody of my kids.”
Well, guess what bro, you can't get full custody. You need to first establish yourself. You’ve given me a lot of conversations about what happened to you and how this went on and what we’ve dealt on is that if they don’t pay for it, it didn’t happen. So let’s stick with that.
So we can really work with them in trying to establish a decent child support order. What we find out is that when you show them how to navigate that particular piece of the child support, they usually can go get their own jobs and we’re finding that to be true.
Next slide. Here is our kind of diagram of how we work with men. First, we do what’s called the intake. We have this side of the release form. That release form was then faxed to the Child Support Office. And we have a wonderful relationship with the Child Support Office.
That child support proposal will be sent back with all that father’s information. Then we take that information and we take that information and we affect it what’s – where it’d be best for him to approach his debt or the things that are hindering him.
We have a gentleman that come into our office 10 years ago and he owed $133,000 in child support payment. He referred to that as pay for a housing he never were going to live in. Well, when offset his payments, we realized that he was – we’ve got the payment modified down to $11,000.
That afforded him to stay on his job, pay out his debt then two of his children were returned to him. He then later married. Today he’s a homeowner, debt-free in ((inaudible)) and also he’s one of our fathers working in the community.
And so that’s what the assessment does. It causes us to be able to give them a work plan. But most folks we don’t have a clue about what to do as a parent. So we have connected in our community agencies that do parent grant.
Now, here is the most critical key I believe and that is looking for agencies who do the work that you don’t do that is cost-effective for these folks who are coming back in the community.
They have no resources, financial resources, so it can't always be expected to take the classes – daily classes, parenting classes when they have no money to take them. It’s about surviving. So they all apply their efforts towards surviving before they apply to that.
And (mind you), their kids are important to them but it causes them – what we don’t want to do is cause them to go back into the same prior behavior. And so then we stressed how important the family relationship is.
A lot of guys said – a lot of what I said before, I want to – I want to be in my kid’s life. Well, have you created an environment where your kids could come to? Your kids can't come to mama’s house. You made the kids your own house, create your own environment.
You asked for – to be in your child’s life, well, then you need to be able to understand if you have a job and your child can't be with you 48 hours if you’re at work, so you need to consider all those kinds of things, and we start walking through that process.
And then further to community and getting back, (two things that crate that important) we’ve been able to take some of these men on a mission trip to Mexico to build houses for the poor. And I’ve got to tell you, it is awesome to see a man who’s been walking around town, woe is me to go into the slums of Tijuana to build a house for someone who lives in a garbage dump for 60 years.
When they come back into the states, it ain’t woe is me anymore. They really get a sense of understanding where they're at, what they need to do for their own families.
And so the other component is now that we have men going into alternative high schools and the reason for that is because somebody’s kids are right where these guys where before they went into prison or began to get caught in this judicial system.
And so these are the right people we believe to go into these high schools where these kids are carrying guns and threatening gang violence on one another and tells them, “Look, man, this don’t work. You don’t want to spend the next 20, 35 years like I did in prison.”
And so – and then our level 5 area is we create a support group bible – bible studies where we have weekly check-ins. We’ve been doing that for the last 10 years and then we call it spiritual maintenance because if something is going on, these guys have a chance to share with other guys what’s taking place in their lives and that we can walk with one another through those processes.
Next slide. So as we have traveled this journey for the last few years, one of the things that – a number of things – but one of the things that we have seen take place is a number of these men are – it’s almost – I’ll just give you one particular story.
I have a man who came in here seven years ago who the word on the street was DADS will get you out of paying child support – so he came in here thinking that he was going to hustle me into getting him out paying child support.
Well, he wounded up sitting here meeting with a group of men and we didn’t work on his child support payments for three years – it was three years later that we were able to work on his child support.
But let me tell you what happened during that period of that. He’s a three-time felon, 17 different aliases and in fact, he married a woman, his first wife under the assumed alias name, they had a baby, he named the baby with the alias name, right, and then he disappeared.
Well, today, he graduated last June with a fourth runner in an I.T. at a local community college. He is now working in Corporate America for I.T. for (Costco). He is married today, he’s a homeowner today and he has a relationship with that same son that he named the fake name.
And so we have a number of these fathers who are now actively involved in the lives of their children, are actively employed and now providing a stable environment for their families.
Next slide. We hope that this affects as we began to kind of document our successes. We’ve just transferred all our files, our hard files to a system that we can now access online and begin to look at our numbers and see what they’re really telling us.
We’ve accounted an online cloud computing system ((inaudible)). We’ve had volunteers come in and add all our information to where is now we believe that the numbers could speak for themselves.
Now, you’ve got to keep in mind, we started in the living room in our little house. And there were so many cars parked out in front of our house. My landlord thought we were selling drugs. That was 1999. And we’ve come a long way but I’ve got to tell you, we still a long way to go.
Next slide. I told you I’ve learned a lot today. I have a lot more to learn. The fathers that we worked with in our community are starting to understand that they are important and then not only that but that there is a community and that they belong to the community and that they can receive the benefits on the community instead of looking for fringe benefits to hurt the community..
Next slide. I think this is something that was touched on already. We’ll go to the next slide.
You know, one of the things that we present ourselves with is the fact that it costs $31,000 a year to house an inmate – you know, a lot of wasted good money. We certainly could use that to empower more families to do a better job with their kids.
The reason I say that is because I grew up in a foster care system. I was raised without a father and a mother. Now, it was funny that 43 years later, I was recreating the same thing in my own children’s lives so thanks to our gracious God, I was able not only to get all of my children. I have eight children with five different mothers.
I had an opportunity to restore my family not only just my own children but even my mother and my father came in back to my life and they were married. And so I think that I could have been one of these statistics. I could have been one of these that would waive on the taxpayer.
I think if we focus our efforts most of us – in the United States focus our efforts on how we can reduce his debt or his charge. We will make the United States an even better place to live in.
With that, I think I better close. It looks like I’m over time. So I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to speak to you. I told a brother later – earlier today that I was about as nervous as a long-tailed cat in the room full of rocking chairs. Thank you again for the opportunity.
Patrick Patterson: Can we just show your contact information? Matt, can you show the last slide, so folks have that information? Perfect, perfect.
There are a number of questions that have come in about your contact information, Marvin, so I want to make sure we put them up on the screen.
Marvin Charles: Okay.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you again, Marvin. There are a number of questions that we have now. So we’re at the portion of our call – what, I would like to just to kind of go in a rapid fire session with Q&A. I’ll ask our presenters each question and then if your question is for all of them to respond to, I’ll also just open it up for the three of them to respond.
So I’ll start with the first question. The question is for Marvin. This question is, I’m seeing fathers and I’ve heard fathers say they are hopeless when they leave prison. Where do you – where does your program start in the whole restoration process?
Marvin Charles: I shared my own story. I shared my story. My wife shared her story. We – I was telling in front of the hospital and left my – I was getting ready to leave my seven-month old on the steps of the hospital because I felt like there was no hope, but it was, it turned around.
My seven-month old then is now 15 years old. She was – I had four children born (crack addicted). They are now top 5 and 10 percent of their classes. So that’s what I do, I shared those stories with them which made them believe that it’s possible for them also.
Patrick Patterson: Could I ask a follow-up? If a person who might have that experience, what would you say to someone who has not had an experience like that? I’m trying to communicate and combatant someone who has a different past, different history, what would you advise a person like that in terms of the engagement with the re-entering felon? What would you – how would you advise them?
Marvin Charles: Well, you know what, man, there are a number of little things. I use a curriculum called Quenching the Father's Thirst. And this curriculum – I really like this curriculum because it uses terms like baby, mama, drama and there are some real powerful pieces to this curriculum.
One of them is chapter 6 where I talked about my first relationship with the woman who was my mother and based on how that relationships is, all other relationships are based on that.
So then that kind of brings it home. It doesn’t really talk about it, where you are now. It talks about where you started. So I think that’s a good place to start that curriculum, Quenching the Father's Thirst from the National Center for Fathering with Dr (Tracy Carey).
Patrick Patterson: Excellent, excellent.
My next question is for Eugene. The question reads, how difficult is it for new nonprofit to obtain federal grants in order to obtain funding for a fatherhood program? And there’s a second part to it, is there a particular procedure that the agencies should follow in order to go about starting a re-entry program?
I’ll re-read that. How difficult is it for new non-profit to obtain federal grants in order to obtain funding for a fatherhood program? And the second part of that is, is there a particular procedure than the agencies should follow in order to go about starting a re-entry program?
Eugene Schneeberg: Well, that’s a great question and thank you to whoever typed it in. I – that’s probably one of the most frequent questions I get in my offices in terms of nonprofits looking to apply for and win competitive processes for federal grants.
And to be honest, one of the ways that we plotted is I’m a sports fan and I always say that, you know, there is not many folks who go to the NBA or the NFL or Major League Baseball right at out middle school.
And so if you’re a brand new start-up nonprofit, it’s going to be very challenging for you to successfully compete for a federal grant. It’s not impossible, there are those phenoms, the LeBron James of the world who were able to come right at a high school.
And there are organizations who watch start-ups that do win federal grants so I’m not saying it’s impossible. It is challenging. I often encourage folks to start at the local level looking at local philanthropy, local foundations, city funds that come into the city perhaps through community development blot grants or other types of grants that are available to your municipality or at the county level. And then work your way up if you haven’t already to the state level.
Almost all federal agencies have a mechanism called formula or (blot) grants that go from the federal level to the state level and then distributed and computed out at the state level. Those – so I encourage folks to look at the formula dollars that are available. So the justice arena, those are called Byrne JAG awards.
And for anyone who’s interested, that they reach out to us at our office. We can put you in contact with your state administering agency. Every state has a designated state agency that’s responsible for administering dollars that come in from the federal level.
And I’d also plug again the National Re-Entry Resource Center. If you’re trying to launch a re-entry initiative, there are tons of great information. We also have much of that information, toolkits, guides, publications on our website at www.ojp.gov/fbnp
And also on our site, ojp.gov/fbnp, there is a link to an initiative called the ARC Initiative – Accessing Resources Curriculum – specifically designed for faith-based and non-profit organizations and it’s a step by step self-guide, it’s self-paced training curriculum that you can use to help set up your processes and your infrastructures to be able to be in a position to raise fund and develop resources. Hope that’s helpful.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you. Thanks, Eugene.
Tasseli, I’ve got a question for you – and there are a number. I just want to say to our presenters, there are a number of comments that are coming in as well, just inspirational, very informative, great webinar so far, so if you do have a question, those things also are helpful to hear as well because we want to provide you with good information.
Tasseli, one of the questions is, what does the data say about the differences – the characteristics of the men who were frequently in touch with their kids and those that were not? Does the data say anything about there was a difference in those two guys?
Tasseli McKay: That’s a great question and not something that we’re currently looking at as part of our baseline analysis. So one of the reports that we are currently developing in that will go through HHS clearance and then be released on our website is looking at just that.
So along with a number of other analyses of the baseline data, I think that’s something we’re really curious about both what are the characteristics of men at baseline who seem to have more contacts with their kids and then especially what about the men who succeed in increasing their contacts with their children, is there anything special or remarkable about them, I think we’re really curious to know that. Thanks a lot for asking.
Patrick Patterson: There’s a second question for you, too, Tasseli. In the various prisons that you, guys, were in, were there language differences and then how did the program accommodate the language differences?
Tasseli McKay: Yes, that’s a great question. So in I believe two of the sites or actually I think three of the sites, California, Texas and Ohio, I believe all provided some services in Spanish to participants.
Now, one of the potential barriers there is that as you all may already know, there is a lack of – or I shouldn’t say a lack, but evidence-based curricula for co-parenting services among incarcerated dads are really, you know, still underdevelopment.
There are some that looks promising for sure but the availability of translated curricula really is an issue because a lot of sites don’t have funds to do their own translation. And so I think that is a gap that still persist to some degree in the field although there are a few curricula that are beginning to be made available at least in English and Spanish, if not, in other languages.
Patrick Patterson: Excellent, excellent.
This question is for both Marvin and Eugene. I’ll start with you, Marvin, so you can take a crack of it first. What strategies do you suggest for programs trying to connect with correctional facilities where they seem to be putting up barriers to doing classes in the name of security?
I’ll ask the question again. What strategies do you suggest for programs trying to connect with correctional facilities where they seem to be putting up barriers to doing classes in the name of security? Marvin, do you want to start?
Marvin Charles: Yes, for us, we in the early days, ran across that problem. What we did was simply put on a program and – it would lack a – what we – a dinner where were honored fathers and we honored – we invited a portion of DOC, Department of Corrections, to come and take a look at it and actually, it was the head of CCO which is the Community Corrections Officer. Back in the day, they called the parole officer.
We invited them to the banquet and she saw what we were doing and a couple of men that we were working with were men who came out of prison, got to the streets and we were able to help them navigate the system and their lives looked a lot better.
And so a lot of these folks said, “Look, if we invited you into working with the men as they come to the halfway house, would you do that?” And so we started literally going to the halfway houses getting a locked up in there working with the men and I think that they saw that we were willing to do that. They began to ease their strains.
Again, we’ve been doing it for pretty close than 10 years so I would just suggest that you begin to build the relationship with low-level DOC – Department of Correction folks – folks who are like yourself, on the ground and doing the ground – the grind work. Those folks are more open to see and respond to some of your ideas.
Patrick Patterson: Excellent. Eugene, do you want to take a crack of that/
Eugene Schneeberg: Yes, I could see how that could be particularly challenging. I know in Massachusetts before coming to the federal government, we tried for a long time to get into our local correctional facilities.
And as a faith-based organization, we ended up going through chaplaincy and we found that as an avenue that open the door and after working with the chaplaincy, we then begin working with the life skills department and then won over favor within the correctional facility.
The other – the thing I would recommend is sending the correctional facility a copy of this webinar. I think the information that’s included here particularly Tasseli’s evaluation will be helpful and really exciting evidence-based approaches.
And I want to flag in particular a study that came out of Rutgers University’s study of the National Fatherhood Initiatives InsideOut Dad curriculum that came out about a year ago, if you just Google National Fatherhood Initiative, Rutgers University Evaluation, I think there are some really good information that really makes the case for why family strengthening is actually good in how it prevents recidivism. I think there’s a number of different piece of evidence that really point to the fact that if inmates are more connected to their families that they’re less likely to reoffend.
And then lastly, you know, that we are prohibited a federal law from kind of interfering with locals on it at the state level but we’re not prohibited from making introductions. So if there are folks – there are introductions that we can help make by the state level, we’d be happy to do that as well.
Patrick Patterson: Excellent, excellent.
This is a question for all three of you and I’ll ask Tasseli. She would start it off. Many say that jobs is one of the first things that men want when they come out, you know, to get to work quickly so they can get everything else that goes with it, housing, transportation.
From your experience in the research, Tasseli, what are the core elements of the programs as they began pitching to employers to hire these men? What have you seen people do that and has worked around encouraging employees to hire these men once they’ve been released? I’ll start with Tasseli, Marvin and then Eugene and/or. Tasseli?
Tasseli McKay: That’s a great question and I’ll say certainly, we found in our evaluation that among these grantees, even those that had not initially planned on providing any type of job development or job placement services did move in a direction of providing some of those services because their presidents really push on that because it was such a salient need.
A couple of things that was reported worked well were putting on a series of events at the prison – this is something that Shelby County Prison did in Memphis, a series of community events with local business leaders that were really intended to kind of raise their awareness about the issue of re-entry in general.
So when their job developer staff went out into these communities to actually, you know, pitch them on the specifics of hiring one of their guys who is re-entering into the community and there were a number of specific supports that they would make them aware of like federal programs to assist with that, the federal bonding program, the tax rates sometimes can be associated with that and they would make them aware of all that.
And they would be doing it in a context of really a lot of relationship building and awareness raising on an entire citywide level so that they were really trying to keep this issue of re-entry in the public eye and kind of remake the perception of re-entering in the public at the same time as they were making this individual pitch to perspective employers.
And another thing that was really helpful reportedly in some sites was to provide some, you know, testimony about men’s skills, you know, because they have done a formal job skills assessment or because their staff – program staff work closely with men over the course of service delivery and to potentially provide them with some support during their work in that job position so transportation support, job coaching, that kind of thing.
So they could really assure that employer that they might be actually taking less of a gamble on one of these re-entering men than they would be on someone from the general population.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you. Marvin, what do you say?
Marvin Charles: One of the situations that have been beneficial to us is a lot of our support comes from a pretty solid donor-based. And some of the folks in our donor-based are mobiles of industry and so they have – because of the relationship we have built with them over a number of years, they open their doors personally to us as far as employment services. Now, that’s not – I don’t want you to think that we can employ that in Seattle but we usually find that we can hold down a significant part of that.
And then the other thing is we’ve had a great opportunity to build relationships with employment agencies where we try our best to outscore some of these guys that they began to deal – to come out and try to build – put their lives back together again.
I think somebody stated it already that when their families are involved and have an opportunity of putting a family together, it usually is a stable – stable factor, you know, maintaining employment and maintaining a family environment. So that’s what we’ve been over the years.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you, Marvin. Eugene?
Eugene Schneeberg: A number of things come to mind in terms of employment for former incarcerated individuals. I think Tasseli mentioned we have a myth buster that the Federal Re-entry Council put out around the federal bonding program around the tax credits that are available, so I encourage folks to check that out at the nationalreentryresourcecenter.org.
I would also say some re-entry organizations have actually dedicated resources to having job developers as part of their teams that specifically are out there making the case on a full-time basis building relationships with employers and I know several agencies throughout the country that had generated several hundreds of what they called felon-friendly employers in their vicinity ((inaudible)).
Additionally, I’ve heard of groups that do research in terms of what are the careers in the industries in their geographic location that are having a hard time filling the jobs. You know, there are some locations that are growth markets that are just not able to fill all the positions they have.
So that – doing that type of research, identifying which labor markets are underserved and then tailoring your training programs specifically to meet those, I think but lastly, are recently the EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, voted to roll out a new guidance to employers around their responsibilities for how they look at and use criminal background records.
And I just encouraged everyone again to go to the nationalreentryresourcecenter.org and there are articles and information about that guidance that’s come out which really is a groundbreaking decision, so really make sure that employers don’t have the blanket bans against former incarcerated individuals but really taking into consideration the nature of their offense, the length of time since the offense, the type of work that’s – that – the work experience that he has, I think to that nature. So please look at the recent EEOC vote that was taken a few months back.
Patrick Patterson: Thanks, Eugene.
We’re not at a point – we have time for one more question. We’ve got a number of questions that have come in, so I want to just restate. We’re going to do at the post – at the end of this webinar, we’re going to capture the recording along with the PowerPoint and they’re going to be posted on the fatherhod.gov website.
Secondly, we do our Frequently Asked Questions document where the questions that we’re not able to post and get answered today, we’re going to list in the document and then get feedback responses from expert presenters today. So be not worry, we’re going to actually capture your question with responses if we don’t get them asked today.
As we prepare to go into our final phase of this webinar, I’d like to ask each of our presenters just to kind of give a final word, you know, given great federal information, we’ve heard great research and findings from that an d we heard inspirations but also real practical strategy that Marvin provided in terms of how to work with ex-felon and guys who are re-entering their communities.
So as we get ready to close, I want to ask each of them – they would just give a parting word to programs on the line that maybe doing this and doing it well. You may have folks on the line who are just now trying to get into this work. You may have individuals who themselves are just coming back into the community. What would you say as a parting word to our audience today? And we’ll start with Tasseli.
Tasseli McKay: Thanks very much. I would just say to those folks, I really salute you. It’s an honor to be doing research in this field because the real heroes out there are the folks who are doing this work on the ground. It can be incredibly challenging work but as Marvin has conveyed a hint of today also incredibly promising and important, so more power to you for attempting it. Thanks very much.
Patrick Patterson: Eugene?
Eugene Schneeberg: Sure. Well, like Tasseli, I just want to really affirm the great work that you all are doing in your commitment. You’ve been taking time to participate in this webinar and you could have been doing something else.
I can't think of any better investment of time, resources, energy than investing in fathers and investing in families and their children, so again, I just thank you for your time. I want you to know that you have a president that cares deeply about these issues and attorney general that cares deeply about this and please I urge you to reach out to our office at Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Justice. Thank you for the questions. Thank you.
Patrick Patterson: Thank you. Marvin? You guys on mute?
Marvin Charles: Yes, I have one question. I want to just post to those who were – those on the ground work, one of the things that I always ask fathers who I’m working with is what are their children’s best friend’s name.
The reason I ask that is because somebody asked me that and I didn’t know my son’s best friend name although I saw him every day. But if you walk into my house with me, my son would step to you and say, “My name is Little Marvin.”
And what that said to me as I thought about that was I was important enough than his life for him to know who I hang out with but he wasn’t important enough in my life for me to know who is hang out with. So that was a challenge to those of us who are doing work to posy that question to fathers.
Patrick Patterson: Excellent, excellent, excellent.
Well, this last phase of my webinar, so we’re going to post a few questions to get your feedback. There’s a polling system. Once the questions are up, you can change your answer. Of course, once the slide changes, you no longer able to change your question – change your response.
So with that, let’s start with our questions. I have a better understanding of federal Department of Justice priorities. I have a better understanding of federal Department of Justice priorities. And you see the option is there.
Next question. The information presented on research findings and issues faced by incarcerated fathers as they prepare for and begin to return to family and community was helpful. The information presented on research findings and issues faced by incarcerated fathers as they prepare for and begin to return to family and community was helpful.
Next question. I learned practical strategies and ideas and ways to help fathers and families deal with re-entry issues. I learned practical strategies and ideas and ways to help fathers and families deal with re-entry issues.
Next question. In general, I received the information that I can use in my work with fathers and families. In general, I received the information that I can use in my work with fathers and families.
Again, I want to thank our presenters for doing an awesome job with all of the questions. I’d like to showcase a couple of things for you. The address for – email address for our director, Mr. Kenneth Braswell along with my email address as the manager of the project.
And then last but not least, two points of contact information for you, guys, directed that you can share with folks today. One is our email address, info at fatherhood.gov
as you want to quickly receive the slides from today’s webinar. You can submit a request via our email address.
And then again, I mentioned to you, guys, earlier our 1800 number. We’re not able to not only answer practitioner questions but also those questions from fathers who may have questions around personal issues as it relates to being back in their lives or strengthen their relationships with their children an d families.
Last but not least, this is very new to the clearinghouse and we’re very proud of it because we’ve seen a nice response nationally in this respect is our Facebook page. We encourage you to go there, like us on Facebook, follow us on Facebook. And then also on Twitter, we have – our address here is also fathers.gov in both of those arenas. After we leave for today, if you go on and become a follower, you’re going to see tweets on today’s webinar and also posts from today’s webinar as well on Facebook.
So again, thank you so much. We’ll be back in touch with you, guys, later and have a great evening.
Operator: And this does conclude today’s teleconference. You may now disconnect and have a wonderful day.