A national non-profit providing a wide range of information, resources, helpful sheets in their Children of Prisoners Library, books for children of incarcerated parents.
The National Policy Partnership for Children of Incarcerated Parents: A 14-State Advocacy Coalition Contact Dee Ann Newell at 501-366-3647 for more information or to join the partnership.
A San Francisco-based group with many coalition members, ideas, services and policy guidance for California.
Osborne Association of New York, serving all family members impacted by incarceration.
The National Re-Entry Resource Center
Programs of Arkansas Voices
Arkansas Voices (AV) offers direct services, advocacy and training
to and on behalf of families and children who are separated from their parents due to parental incarceration, addiction, mental illness, foster care, deportation, and physical disabilities.
The organization offers direct services with grant funding and volunteer-led programs. All services are evaluated by performance measures or outside evaluators.
These programs include:
I. Family Matters Kinship Caregivers and Children Support Groups in the Delta, Northwest Arkansas, and Central Arkansas.
Funding Source: The funder is the Arkansas Department of Work Force Services and is provided to a subgroup of relative caregivers who are receiving public assistance through the TEA-Child Only benefits program. Eligibility requires that the caregivers be ineligible for assistance for themselves due to SSI, pensions, or other outside income, but the children are without income resources. Thus the case is opened on behalf of the children. It does not have the two-year time limit placed on the TEA recipients who are to prepare for the workplace. These caregivers are not required to work and continue to receive the benefits for the child until the child turns 18 years old.
II. Annie E. Casey Innovation Research Grant for Grandparents and Relatives Left Behind by Arkansas Child Welfare SystemStaff: John Zalenski, PhD.
This project is to identify relative caregivers whose family member’s children entered foster care and these relatives sought either permanency, e.g., guardianship of adoption, or visitation and/or contact and were denied. Dr. Zalenski interviews these relatives with a structure interview and records the interviews on a digital recorder. This project has been in tandem with state legislative hearings during the summer, an interim study brought forth by members of the legislators who saw problems among constituents seeking to provide or continue contact with their family’s children.
III. School-Based Support Group is at Hall and Central in the Little Rock School District for Youth Impacted by Parental Incarceration. These groups have been ongoing for five years.
IV. Parenting Classes for Incarcerated Mothers and Fathers and Family Re-entry Planning
V. Parenting classes and Family Services for Parent who are Patients in the Forensic Unit at the Arkansas State Hospital.
(This is a pilot project to serve the most underserved of families, children whose parents are seriously mentally ill and have been convicted of some sort of crime and reside in the locked-down facility of the State Hospital. We are working on ways to make family services more appropriate for these families and patients.)
VI. Caregiver Support Group in Garland County
(This is a monthly support group for relative caregivers, primarily peer-led with some technical support from Dee Ann Newell. Funded by the Brookdale Foundation of New York, Relatives as Parents Program)
VII. Parenting after Release and during Re-Entry
is a class or individual/group meetings with parents family members, prior to release and during the post-release period. Family Conferencing and Family Decision- Making, along with some help at housing and employment, provide the social support for the entire family&coping with a parent coming home. If there are enough clients for a class, these are held weekly;& otherwise& the Family Conferences are scheduled around the clients’ schedules. Family mentoring is & provided throughout the parent’s incarceration and homecoming. These classes and the program were created in the late 1990s
VIII. Family and Individual Conferencing:
These sessions are available throughout the state for families preparing for a parent’s incarceration, having difficulty with the children and need individualized support, and
preparing for the parent’s re-entry. Referrals to social workers and other therapeutic services with professionals who have been trained in the needs of children of the incarcerated are provided, but are not available in all parts of the state.
VIII. The Arkansas Bill of Rights Coalition for Children of Incarcerated Parents
is a collaborative group; that meets every three months and more often as we approach the legislative session, and is intended to develop policy and education for our policy makers. This group offers youth panels, public forums and events to reach out for greater community involvement on behalf of the children, their caregivers, and their parents, inside and coming home. The community, local, regional, and statewide, is a critical presence at the table. Member groups include the Diocese of Little Rock, the Interfaith Alliance, the ACLU, legal services,
the Arkansas Headstart Collaborative, UALR School of Social Work, various drug treatment facilities,
and other concerned individuals.
Our legislative agenda will include:
Legislative Initiatives, continued.
IX. Our resource, problem-solving, and informational WARM Line is 1-866-9-VOICES and is manned by staff and volunteers. It is manned by trained volunteers
X. Our Comcast Community TV
show, offered for more than 10 years, is seen on Channel 18 of the Comcast network. Guests who can further enlighten the public by sharing the stories of those directly impacted are interviewed twice a month.
XI. Our annual Southern Summit Conference for Children Left Behind
began in 2006, bringing the national leaders in he field. The W.R. Rockefeller Foundation of Arkansas was the original funder of the conference and included an evaluation by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. This evaluation indicated that at post 6-months, the information gathered was continuing to have an impact on practitioners attending the conference.
XII. Training and Technical Assistance for Interested Groups, Public Forums to Engage the Community and Build Resources, including Conference Presentations on the following topics:
XIII. Annual Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis public awareness event
is held each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day in May. Members of the women’s choir at the Arkansas Department of Community Correction Pine Bluff Therapeutic Unit attend and perform in the Rotunda of the State Capitol, with a lunch following for these mothers.
XIIII. Justice Week for Children of Incarcerated Parents
is a week-long multi-public awareness week engaging faith leaders in providing information and encouraging volunteers to support children of incarcerated parents and their families. It is held the third week in June each year. I f your faith group or civic organization would like to become involved, please contact us at 1-866-9-VOICES.
XV. National Award:
We are honored to have been asked by Justice Works, a national organization in New York, serving as a public awareness organization on behalf of incarcerated mothers and children for the past twenty years---now closing—to continue their annual Constance Baugh National Award for a formerly incarcerated mother who has given back to her community of fellow sisters who have been imprisoned. The award will include a $500 check to the awardee. In Arkansas, two of our mothers have received this national award, Brenda Olive and Shawanna Lumsey.
XVI. Scholarship Award:
Each year Arkansas Voices has provided a scholarship award to an Arkansas youth of an incarcerated or previously incarcerated parent for post-secondary education. The award is $500 and is based on an essay written by the youth and the healing activities they have participated in on behalf of other children of incarcerated parents. Although the amount does not cover tuition costs, it does help to defray other costs associated with attending any post-secondary program.