PB &J Family Services | Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind | Family Connections Centers | Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program | Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota | New Jersey Department of Corrections | The Osborne Association | The Fathers, Families and Children’s Program, St. Augustine Park Slope | People for People, Inc. | Friends Outside in Los Angeles County (FOLA) | Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.) | Child Abuse Services, Treatment, and Life Enrichment (CASTLE) | Connections to Success | The RIDGE Project
PB &J Family Services in Albuquerque, NM, provides supportive services for parents in correctional facilities, children and caretakers within the community, and post-release support through home visiting, therapeutic bonding-attachment programs, weekly support groups, and a workforce development center. While fathers are in prison, they can participate in mentoring and parent-child visitation programs. Support is provided to their elementary or middle school-aged children before and after visits through the KidPACT program. After release, fathers can participate in Fathers Building Futures, an economic development initiative that trains fathers in a business of their choice while providing affordable, meaningful, and useful services to the community. These businesses include auto detailing, custom woodworking, and mobile power washing and graffiti removal.
Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind helps incarcerated parents and the caregivers of their children develop co-parenting agreements; offers school-based services for children whose lives have been impacted by incarceration of a parent; and provides reunification and re-entry services for prisoners and their families.
The New Hampshire Department of Corrections’ Family Connections Centers provide parenting education and healthy relationship classes for incarcerated parents, a summer camp program for their children, and opportunities for healthy contact between the parents and their children through internet video visits and Family Fun Days.
The Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program, operated by Seton Youth Shelters in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach, VA, matches children with trained adult mentors and they engage in recreational, educational, or cultural activities on a weekly basis.
Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota partners with the education division of the South Dakota Department of Corrections to work with fathers who are scheduled for release in six months or less. The organization provides relationship, parenting, and economic stability services. One innovative feature of the program gives fathers the opportunity to create video diaries of themselves doing something special for their children, such as reading a book, reading a letter, or playing a musical instrument. The DVDs are then mailed home to their children. Transitional support is also available for newly released fathers as they reenter the community.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections has case managers who work individually with each family, contacting co-parents or caregivers to help them make arrangements for visitation and to assist them in obtaining and submitting the documentation required by facilities to allow a child to visit. Co-parents have been able to bring their children with them to facility-based parenting classes, which include children’s books and coloring supplies for the classrooms.
The Osborne Association in Brooklyn, NY, has worked with correctional facility administrators to establish children’s centers at several New York state prisons. Graduates of their correctional facility-based parenting classes serve as informal mentors who are available to answer questions from other fathers or visiting children and to encourage positive parent-child interaction. Fathers and children participate together in 15- to 30-minute skill-building sessions that give fathers the opportunity to practice parenting skills, interact directly with their children, and receive feedback and parenting support from experienced fathers.
The Fathers, Families and Children’s program of St. Augustine Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY works with children and families of incarcerated fathers. The program encourages children to express themselves through art and holds an annual exhibit of their work; arranges opportunities for children to visit their fathers; and provides parenting classes in a local prison and the community.
Project D.A.D., a program of People for People, Inc. in Philadelphia, works with employers that have had high turnover to improve reliability. Although many of the program participants have criminal records, the preparation and ongoing support provided by Project D.A.D. enables employers to hire reliable workers and reduce turnover.
Friends Outside in Los Angeles County (FOLA) has provided fatherhood reentry services since 2008. Fathers participate in curricula-driven parenting, relationship, and employment workshops and, after graduation, job specialists provide access to vocational training and employment.
Since 2005, the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.), operated by Metroplex Economic Development Corporation, has served over 10,000 formerly incarcerated individuals across Texas. Support services focus on key reentry issues such as housing, employment, family reunification, parenting, education, and healthcare.
During a federally funded project from 2006 to 2011, the Exchange Club Center for Child Abuse Services, Treatment, and Life Enrichment (CASTLE) in St. Lucie County, FL, provided a “harvest” outreach program to fathers upon their release from prison. The program provided vouchers and other services to fill a gap while former inmates waited to receive food stamps or other benefits. The program also included a support group to help children of incarcerated dads deal with separation, divorce, and reunification issues, and a mothers’ support group that met regularly before fathers were released from prison to focus on positive parenting and reunification. Staff stayed in contact with fathers and family members for up to 1 year after they completed the program.
Connections to Success provides services for ex-offenders in St. Louis, MO, St. Charles, MO, Kansas City, MO, and Kansas City, KS. Along with subsidized employment and on-the-job training, Connections to Success involves fathers in transitional job training that combines skills-building with employment. The program identifies skill gaps across industries and has focused training on home remodeling, manufacturing, and general maintenance. The program stresses the benefits its services bring to employers, such as providing a qualified pool of talent, pre-screening applicants according to employer’s specifications, reducing turnover cost, and providing follow-up assistance for at least a year.
“I have now been working full-time for over 6 months and my supervisor loves my work! In fact, they have since hired several additional TYRO graduates because they have been so pleased with my attitude, character, and work ethic. I have ‘set the bar’ on what my boss expects from a TYRO and I have continued to encourage these TYRO men as well.” (Graduate of the RIDGE Project’s Keeping Faith program)
The RIDGE Project works in prisons across Ohio through an 18-week Keeping FAITH (Families and Inmates Together in Harmony) program that involves both the incarcerated fathers and their partners. The first 10 weeks of Keeping FAITH focus on intensive work with the dads to teach them to take responsibility for their actions, show them how to overcome the obstacles of their incarceration, and prepare them for the transition back into their homes and communities. Upon successful completion, a father earns the title of TYRO, which means warrior or someone learning something new. This is followed by a 4-week couples class that focuses on communication skills for fathers and their partners. The final 4 weeks of the program feature an advanced communication class in which the couples learn about conflict resolution, anger management, and relationship stability.