This is our archived news section. Visit our News on the Site and In the Field page for current news.
Check out our Books and Films page for a price slash on the film Shadows: Children, Families and the Legacy of Incarceration
by Tova: Artistic Project for Social Change. Originally $50, this film now can be purchased for $30.
“Be Sure Your Child is Cared For and Safe” – A Flyer from The NYS Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children
This flyer was designed to help parents who have been arrested plan for their children. Though it is a NYS resource, it might be a model for other states. It describes and provides forms to designate a person in parental relation so that their children have caregivers with the legal ability to make education and medical decisions for their children. While the flyer does not provide legal advice, it does explain various short- and long-term options that help parents plan appropriately for their children’s care and provides information about resources that can be helpful to the parent, their children and their children’s caregivers.
You can download the flyer in English and Spanish on the Commission’s website. Copies of the flyer can also be ordered through an electronic order form from this website. The English hard copy is currently available and the Spanish version is expected to be available in June. The flyer will be available for download in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, Bengali, Haitian Creole and French later this year.
New Website – “Time On the Outside: Stories of Families and Incarceration”
In the next few months, Shannon Heffernan, as part of a Soros Media Fellowship will launch a new website: Time On the Outside: Stories of Families and Incarceration. The site will feature in-depth stories of how incarceration impacts families. The site will help to educate the greater public and let families hear from people in similar situations. NRCCFI is partnering with Ms. Heffernan to assist her in connecting with families if the incarcerated for this project.
You can participate by sharing your story on the anonymous hotline. Just call: 951-262-3339 and start speaking. The hotline is anonymous, stories may be edited for length, but we will work to be true to the original message. Program providers can share this with family members or assist them in calling in during program activities.
Suggestions for topics to share include: What was the day your loved one got arrested like? What are some special things you do to maintain contact? What are phone calls or visits like? If you could change one thing about the prison system what would it be? What was it like when your loved one returned? How has your family handled the fiancees of having a loved one away? Whats one thing people don’t understand about families of the incarcerated?
Please direct any questions about this project to Ms. Heffernan by leaving her a message on the hotline.
The Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit: Helping Individuals Released From Prison Maximize Their Earnings
According to U.S. Department of Justice reports, approximately 650,000 former state and federal prisoners reenter society each year. Individuals with criminal records often have trouble finding employment and since they may be “starting over”, their resources are extremely limited. When they do obtain a job, it is often low-wage or intermittent employment, making it difficult for them to achieve financial stability. Another ten million individuals are released from local jails each year and experience similar barriers to employment. The Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit can provide additional support for eligible former prisoners and jail which improve their ability to obtain long-term employment and reduce the risk of recidivism.
In addition, the Department of Justice reports that more than half of the 1.4 million adults incarcerated in state and federal prisons are parents of minor children. When a parent is incarcerated a relative often steps in to care for the child. Since these relative caretakers are likely to not have budgeted for raising a child, the EIC and CTC can help family members who become the caregivers of the child of a person who is incarcerated.
Click here for more information on EIC and CTC, including information on who qualifies and how to get this credit.
Mentoring Children of the Incarcerated Program News
Several regional initiatives focused on the children of the incarcerated have been spearheaded by Big Brothers Big Sisters Agencies with Mentoring Children of Prisoners Programs resulting in unprecedented collaborations and systems change. These types of partnerships are changing public images about children of the incarcerated and are also creating new groups of advocates for the children and their families.
Families and Service Providers Convened
In response to the proposed recommendations by CSG, a series of focus groups and town hall-style meetings were convened by NRCCFI in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, California and Illinois. Read more about the focus group feedback and the CSG Action plan in our Policy Forum.
Research Consultant Susan Phillips also discusses the CSG Recommendations in her Research and Review Commentary.
Extraordinary Savings Opportunity! The Original Training for Mentors: Mentoring Children of Prisoners-Training for Trainers
by Ann Adalist-Estrin
(Adapted for Program Downsizing)
June 29 and 30, 2011
Centerforce in San Raphael California invites you to attend:
The Mentoring Children of Prisoners Curriculum , created in 2003 has been delivered to 130 agencies in 46 states. It has now been adapted to provide agency trainers/staff with a variety of tools for training mentors to have new or on-going relationships with mentees who have an incarcerated family member. The goal of the training is to assist agencies with providing high quality training in the face of budget challenges and program downsizing. It will give participants knowledge and new skills for initial and ongoing training of mentors, and for building an agency wide base of understanding and awareness about children of the incarcerated, their families, and the community services and programs that can be part of service delivery partnerships. The training will also include policy and procedure discussion s for preparing mentors for matches that end or transition to different agencies or programs.
I. Mentoring for Children of Prisoners: What it was, what it is and what it can be.
II.Who are the Children of Prisoners? Characteristics and Variations
IV.Honoring the Significance of the Incarcerated Parent
V. The Impact of Culture, Race, Language, and Ethnicity on Children and Families of Prisoners
VI. Establishing Trust, Promoting Attachment and Building Emotional Strength
VII. Encouraging Competence and Confidence
VIII. Sustaining Faith, Hope and Meaning
IX. Supporting the Parent/Child Family Relationships of Children of Prisoners
X. Policies, procedures and ethics in match terminations and transitions.
The Mentoring Children of Prisoners/ Training of Trainers is 14 hours of training delivered in 2 days.
The cost of this training is $150.00 per person plus travel expenses and lodging.
The space for this opportunity is limited and participants will be registered on a first come first served basis.
Contact Teresa Lee at Centerforce TODAY to reserve your space!
Fax: (415) 456-2146
Barnard University Focuses Current Webjournal on Children of the Incarcerated
“Children of Incarcerated Parents” is focus of the Spring 2010 Issues of The Scholar and Feminist Online webjournal from The Barnard Center for Research on Women. Contributors include Ann Adalist-Estrin, asha bandele, Nell Bernstein, Stacey Bouchet, Creasie Finney Hairston, Denise Johnston, Tanya Krupat, Carrie Levy, Venezia Michalsen, Dee Ann Newell, Megan Sullivan and Angie Vachio.
New Training Video from Our Partners: “LIFE WITHOUT: Youth With Incarcerated Parents Tell Their Own Stories”
What is life like for children whose mothers or fathers are incarcerated? What happens to parents and grandparents left to care for these children apart from the imprisoned parent? A group of youth spent a week together in the summer of 2009 learning how documentary films are made and then using this new knowledge to tell their own stories of having a parent in prison. The result is Life Without, a series of six poignant vignettes produced by these youth. With a running time of 35 minutes, the video is perfectly suited as a training tool in a wide variety of settings. For more info, including how to order, visit our Products and Publications, Available from Our Partners page.
CSG Justice Center Unveils Federal Action Plan for Improving Responses to Children of Incarcerated Parents
New York—The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center announced at a Capitol Hill briefing on October 26, the release of Children of Incarcerated Parents: An Action Plan for Federal Policymakers. The plan outlines promising practices and 70-plus recommendations for improving outcomes for the more than 1.7 million children of incarcerated parents. Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Open Society Institute, the publication reflects the work of an advisory board of criminal justice and child welfare experts, representatives of community-based organizations, and a bipartisan group of state and local government officials.
“Corrections, child welfare, and other agencies that encounter children of incarcerated parents can better coordinate their efforts to provide the care and services they need,” said advisory board co-chair Robin Arnold-Williams, Director, Executive Policy Office of Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire. “The Justice Center partnered with leaders in the field to ensure the action plan guides policymakers on the best strategies to ensure that these children are safe and secure. It is one of the most comprehensive summaries of key policy changes needed for this vulnerable population.”
Read the CSG Federal Action Plan.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region in Harrisburg PA planned a symposium in October of 2008 that generated tremendous responses!
Read more in Children with Prisoners One Year Later, here.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay in Florida along with their partners have created CHIPS- Collaborative for Children in Hillsborough of Prisoners. Read about their upcoming symposium at the Children’s Board in Hillsborough County.
CHECK OUT THESE 2 IMPORTANT WEB/MEDIA RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES IMPACTED BY INCARCERATION
CALLS FROM HOME, a holiday radio broadcast for prisoners and their families will be heard on over 200 radio stations, reaching into our nation’s prisons so those inside know they are not forgotten.
Call a toll-free line 877-518-0606 up until Dec. 6, 2009 and speak directly to those behind bars this holiday season. An answering machine will record your message. Read a poem, sing a song, or just speak directly from your heart. Speak to someone you know or to everyone who is listening.
Learn more here.
CALLS FROM HOME is a project of Thousand Kites/WMMT-FM/Appalshop Campaign Center and a national network of grassroots organizations working for criminal justice reform.
LIVES IN FOCUS AND FAMILY LIFE BEHIND BARS media project examines the impact on family relations and dynamics when one or more member of a family is incarcerated. The projects uses video, audio and photographs to present the voices of those who are rarely given space or time in traditional news media. A monthly radio program featuring guests who address many of the questions and concerns people have when a loved one is in prison.
For more information visit http://livesinfocus.org/prison/
Family Life Behind Bars Radio is a service of Lives in Focus: Family Life Behind Bars, a community project supported by J-Lab and the Knight Foundation.
Visit our Mentoring page
For current and relevant information on mentoring children with incarcerated parents, family strengthening policies for mentoring programs, ideas for training, inspiring and connecting those working in mentoring programs serving the children and families impacted by incarceration. Winter focus: Staff Development
A systematic review conducted on the effects of parental imprisonment on children by Joseph Murray and his colleagues – this work http://fcnetwork.org/research-review searched for all studies previously done on this topic, and summarises the results from the best studies. Murray, J., Farrington, D. P., Sekol, I., & Olsen, R. F. (2009). Effects of parental imprisonment on child antisocial behaviour and mental health: A systematic review. Oslo, Norway: Campbell Collaboration (Available at http://www.campbellcollaboration.org).
Announcing Children of Prisoners 2012, an International Conference to be held from July 24th to 26th in Kampala , Uganda.
Sponsored by Wells of Hope in conjunction with international partners , including NRCCFI/FCN the Conference will bring together those working with children of the incarcerated worldwide to consolidate our experiences, share new knowledge and skills, and discuss and jointly develop an International Action Agenda for Children whose Parents are in Prison.
Wells of Hope
Plot 423,Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road
Mobile ; +256 772 407716
Read some of the reporting on children and families of the incarcerated:
IL: Two steps forward, one back
Catalyst Chicago – September 25, 2009
CPS is the third school district in the country to provide training for school social workers to help children of incarcerated parents. Other services have been hurt by budget cuts, but new federal funds may help.
National: Sidebar: A national overview on what’s being done to help children of the incarcerated
Catalyst Chicago– September 25, 2009
More mentoring programs across the country now include components that help children relate to their incarcerated parents, says Ann Adalist-Estrin, who directs the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated at the Family and Corrections Network. Mentors may help children write letters, or even take them on visits. This new emphasis reflects the reality of many children’s lives, Adalist-Estrin says. It is a marked advance from earlier years, when many such programs assumed these children were essentially parentless.
PA: Hurting convicts’ children
Philadelphia Inquirer – Nov. 16, 2009
Restrictive visiting hours at some of the region’s prisons make it unnecessarily difficult for children to maintain relationships with their incarcerated parents. This punishes the children and helps perpetuate a damaging cycle.
Below is Executive Director of The Osborne Association, Elizabeth Gaynes’, letter to the editor in response to this article.
To the Editor:
I want to applaud Renneth Grey for drawing attention to the negative impact of restrictive prison visiting hours on the children of incarcerated parents and the need to make such visits more accessible (Monday, Nov. 16, 2009). But I would also like to clarify one point. Ms. Grey states that the children of incarcerated parents “are more likely to participate in illegal behavior.” In fact, this is a misconception. While the incarceration of a parent can have profound consequences for a child—from feelings of grief, shame, and loss to poor school performance—there are no credible studies showing that children with a parent in prison or jail are more likely to commit a crime. And there is good reason to believe that maintaining a relationship with their parent offers children needed assurance and security in difficult times.
For more information on how children are affected by incarceration and what can be done to reduce the burden that children face when a parent goes to prison, please visit the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated Web site at fcnetwork.org.
The Osborne Association
809 Westchester Avenue
Bronx, NY 10455
718 707 2649