Professionals, including researchers, direct service
providers, policymakers, and policy reformers are
invited to submit proposals for presentations
at the upcoming
6th SOUTHERN SUMMIT ON
CHILDREN OF THE INCARCERATED
A research-evaluated conference by the
National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
November 16, 2013 in Little Rock, AR
Proposals are due no later than October 1, 2013.
Please include three learning objectives and send to:
Dee Ann Newell
1818 North Taylor, #140
Little Rock, AR 72207
For more information, contact Dee Ann at 501-366-3647
The annual Arkansas Voices art
camp was held July 15-19 at the
Quapaw Quarter Methodist Church. It was attended by 12 children ages
8-14, all of whom have an
incarcerated parent. The children
participated in various creative
activities including ceramics,
theater, dance, photography, and videography.
Children with incarcerated parents
have special needs and
concerns. They often suppress their feelings, leading to serious issues such as depression and
anxiety. Creativity is an effective
tool for breaking down barriers and
finding ways for the children to express their fears.
All of the counselors are adult
children of prisoners who have been trained by Arkansas Voices. The counselors and the other
campers provide a supportive community so that the children know that they are not alone in their situation.
"Our interventions have long included expressive activities, such as all of the arts and journaling to share their loss and pain," says Dee Ann Newell, executive director of Arkansas Voices. "The art
camp is one of our opportunities to support activities that diminish some of the pain of parental loss, stigma, and shame.
The final camp activity was a picnic that was enjoyed by all. Thank you to the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame for funding the art camp.
The Arkansas Voices Art Camp will be held from July 15-19. This is a great opportunity for children with an incarcerated parent to bring out their creativity, and to be with other kids who know what they are going through.
Call (501) 366-3647 to sign up.
Location: Quapaw Quarter Church
1601 S. Louisiana St.
Little Rock, AR
Dee Ann Newell, Executive Director of Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind, was honored at the White House in a ceremony on June 12, 2013. She was one of 12 individuals selected as Champions of Change for the work she has done with children of incarcerated parents.
The White House Office of Public Engagement, created in 2011 to recognize community leaders working to strengthen democracy and increase participation in government, hosted the event. This event also marked the introduction of a new Sesame Street Muppet character, Alex, who has an incarcerated parent. Alex is pictured here along with Dee Ann (left) and two other honorees, Nell Bernstein and Yali Lincroft, close colleagues.
The 12 honorees have all dedicated their lives to working with incarcerated parents, their children, and the caregivers of those children. The White House describes them as heroes, working every day to help families affected by incarceration.
The work of Arkansas Voices and the other Champions of Change is complemented by the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, convened by the Attorney General two years ago, which seeks to reduce barriers to jobs, housing, and education, with a special emphasis on the needs of veterans and women as they rejoin society after involvement with the criminal justice system.
"This White House event offered the first-ever federal policies to soften the impact of parental loss for a child of an incarcerated parent, including a model law enforcement training and protocol when children are witnesses to their parent's arrest, along with other needed policies," noted Dee Ann. "It is our hope that we will see further federal efforts to insure children and parents are not needlessly separated, including diverting parents into productive programs without parent-child separation.
Arkansas Voices works with many wonderful families, providing support during the parent's incarceration and re-entry. To learn more about Arkansas Voices, visit our website at www.arkansasvoices.org.
A trip to the Arkansas State Capitol Building for a group of high school girls was a lesson in civics and a chance to meet the Governor. It was also a chance to relax and have fun, something these girls badly need.
Arkansas Voices supports two school-based peer support groups made up of high school students who share the harsh impact of an incarcerated parent or family member. These students often have special needs and concerns. They frequently take on the role of an adult, holding down jobs and taking responsibility for younger siblings. For teens, peer support groups can be the strongest guiding force in their lives.
For these girls, all of whom live in Little Rock, this was their first trip to the State Capitol. The groups provide not only encouragement and guidance, but also educational and leadership development opportunities.
Arkansas Voices works with many outstanding youth such as these wonderful girls, providing support during the parent's incarceration and re-entry. To learn more about Arkansas Voices, visit our website at www.arkansasvoices.org.
Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind knows the power of education, and also knows how difficult getting an education can be for our families. Through the Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Scholarship, Arkansas Voices awards scholarship funds to students who participate in our program.
These scholarship awards will be given at the 19th annual Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis public awareness event held each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. This year, the event will be held at the State Capitol Rotunda at 11:00 am on Friday, May 10. The public is welcome to attend. We will be announcing this year's two Caldwell scholarship recipients.
Teiana is one of our outstanding program participants. She graduated from Parkview High School in Little Rock, and will be attending Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. In addition to the Caldwell scholarship, she received a scholarship from the state. Teiana lives with her grandparents and loves dance, arts, and music, and will pursue these areas of study during her college years.
Patrick, another of our graduates and Caldwell scholarship recipients, will be attending the University of Central Arkansas. Patrick has been a participant in our program since he was five years old. College attendance runs in Patrick's family: other current college students in his family include his grandmother caregiver, Brenda, and his father, Patrick, Sr. (both pictured here). Brenda is one of the original board members of Arkansas Voices and is attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock studying criminal justice. Patrick Sr., who is incarcerated, is attending college through Arkansas State University.
Arkansas Voices works with many outstanding youth like Teiana and Patrick, providing support during the parent's incarceration and re-entry.
Who knew that an invisible necklace could be such a source of comfort? Jasmine knows. She is 9 years old, and her mother is incarcerated out of state. Jasmine is not able to visit often and sometimes she is unable to sleep because she is thinking of her mother.
Her father gave her an invisible necklace to wear at night to help with the sleeplessness. Images such as these can help children handle the loss of a parent due to incarceration. In addition to being imaginative, Jasmine is artistic, which can be a way for children to express themselves and cope with their stress and anxiety.
Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind has visited Jasmine and her father in their home, providing support and counseling. Jasmine's father is grateful for the support they have received. "Arkansas Voices has not only helped my child endure being separated from my wife, but I believe we are a stronger, more loving family as a result...we know now what really matters."
Arkansas Voices works with many families like Jasmine and her father, providing support during the parent's incarceration and re-entry. To learn more about Arkansas Voices, visit our website at www.arkansasvoices.org.
Jacob was only three years old when his mother was incarcerated. While she was gone, he lived with his elderly great-grandparents who had also been the caregivers of his mother when she was younger, due to her mother's illness.
Jacob's mother participated in parenting classes with Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind while she was in prison, and Arkansas Voices also assisted her in her re-entry and her reunification with Jacob. She returned home, resumed parenting with her grandparents' support, and became a VISTA volunteer working with Arkansas Voices to put on the Southern Summit for Children of the Incarcerated. Jacob's mother also serves on the Board of Directors of Arkansas Voices.
Jacob still remembers his mother's absence, and mentions her incarceration and his visits to see her at the jail. His mom has been very wise in keeping the door open to his questions about her incarceration, and Jacob continues to thrive in the care of his mother. Sadly, he lost his great-grandfather, a source of grief and mourning for him, as his grandpa had been his greatest fan.
Arkansas Voices works with many families like Jacob and his mother, providing support during the parent's incarceration and re-entry. To learn more about Arkansas Voices, visit our website at www.arkansasvoices.org.
Chase is eight years old, and lives with his mother and sisters. He loves books and theater and is in many ways a typical child. But Chase is different - his father is in prison in Oklahoma, and Chase has not seen him since he was an infant. Chase has managed to maintain a relationship through calls and letters. He dreams of visiting his father in prison.
Arkansas Voices is helping Chase and his family travel to visit his father. Another goal is to get Chase enrolled in the Arkansas Arts Center Theater program this summer.
Through the book What Will Happen to Me? by Howard Zehr, Chase has learned about other children of incarcerated parents, which helps ease his sense of isolation. Chase's mother saw how this isolation affected him. "Sometimes Chase would cry for no apparent reason, and he would share his sadness with me." Each child of a prisoner is unique, but they all share the pain of loss, even when they do not know the incarcerated parent. They can imagine what "might have been", and that loss matters, too.
Arkansas Voices works with many children like Chase who need to know that they are not alone. To learn more about Arkansas Voices, visit our website at www.arkansasvoices.org.