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INCARCERATED FATHERS: A RENEWABLE (and UNDERUSED) RESOURCE THE OSBORNE ASSOCIATIONS NY INITIATIVE FOR CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS PRESENTS 1.

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Presentation on theme: "INCARCERATED FATHERS: A RENEWABLE (and UNDERUSED) RESOURCE THE OSBORNE ASSOCIATIONS NY INITIATIVE FOR CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS PRESENTS 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 INCARCERATED FATHERS: A RENEWABLE (and UNDERUSED) RESOURCE THE OSBORNE ASSOCIATIONS NY INITIATIVE FOR CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS PRESENTS 1

2 Participants will learn: Why fathers, even incarcerated fathers, are important in their childrens lives? How fathers parent from inside. The importance of including incarcerated fathers in the mentoring process. How to respond to the incarcerated fathers concerns about mentoring. How mentors can help incarcerated fathers play a more meaningful role in their childrens lives. How to gain access to incarcerated fathers by partnering with programs that serve incarcerated men. Opportunities for mentoring programs to market their activities to incarcerated fathers. 2

3 3 In 2007, 1.7 million minor children had a parent in prison, an 82% increase since % were children of color. Two-thirds of the incarcerated parent population is non-white. One in every 43 American children has a parent in prison: 1 in 111 white children, 1 in 42 Latino children, and 1 in 15 black children. In 2007, half (52%) of all incarcerated men and women were parents. *Source: Incarcerated Children and their Parents, Trends The Sentencing Project, February 2009

4 In 2007, 92% of incarcerated parents in state and federal facilities were fathers. An estimated 1,559,200 children had a father in prison midyear Nearly half (46%) of these fathers were black. 88% of incarcerated fathers (in state prisons) reported that at least one of their children was in the care of the childs mother. From 1991 to 2007, the number of incarcerated mothers increased by 122% compared to a rise of 76% for incarcerated fathers. *Source: Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report August 2008 NCJ

5 Individual impact depends on many factors: Developmental stage(s) Prior relationship & living arrangement Challenging circumstances (poverty, parental substance abuse) and previous losses/ traumas Level of support child receives Openness & ways of communicating about parent Level of contact with parent Whether childs living situation changes Whether child is already or enters foster care 5

6 Loss Isolation and loneliness Fear (of stigma and ridicule) Confusion Helplessness Anger Guilt or Shame Challenges in managing emotions Problems at school and home The assumption of being judged and even blamed when things go wrong (apple doesnt fall far from tree) 6

7 Is it beneficial or harmful for a child to have a relationship with his or her incarcerated father? How can incarcerated fathers stay or become involved in their childrens lives while they are in prison? How might incarcerated fathers view mentors? How can the incarcerated father support the mentor? And vice versa? 7

8 Barriers: Limited access or cost of collect calls, no call back number; no ; cant go to school meetings or participate in childrens daily activities and special occasions and accomplishments; tensions associated with child support payments/arrears and questions of paternity. Opportunities: Visits, special events, letter writing; sharing homework assignments/ projects with parent, parent sharing own academic experience/ accomplishments; phone calls and televisiting. Prisoners who have failed as citizens can succeed as parents. 8

9 Talking to Youth about their Fathers Incarceration Common experience always an impact on some level for youth Using language that is not judgmental: do not use terms like offender, inmate, convict Bring topic up in general to acknowledge reality for many children Dont judge: (hold your assumptions and biases lightly); tell a positive/ relevant story (if you have one) involving an incarcerated parent Build trust: many young people have been lied to about where their parent is and/ or have been judged by their parents actions. WAYS TO SUPPORT CHILDREN AND THEIR INCARCERATED FATHER 9

10 How Can Mentors Help Incarcerated Fathers Play a More Meaningful Role in their Childrens Lives? Send a letter of introduction to the incarcerated father. Engage children in activities that help nurture the parental relationship (writing letters, making cards, assisting with visits, etc.) Assist incarcerated father in establishing a line of communication with childs school. Help to facilitate and support healthy communication between incarcerated father and Caregiver. Assist the father when he re-enters the community, helping to forge connections with an array of positive supports. 10 Families of the incarcerated are included as the warm up act, the anecdotes and the sad stories instead of as the experts. Liz Gaynes, Executive Director of the Osborne Association

11 The parent is the expert on his/her child All parents have strengths All parents want to do well by their child All parents have something critical to share at each developmental stage All parents have ambivalent feelings Parenting is a process built on trial and error *Adapted from The Touchpoints Model of Development T. Berry Brazelton, MD and Joshua Sparrow M.D

12 Family Works – Fatherhood Education Program for Incarcerated Fathers; Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Family Centers with skills building activities; Family Counseling (planning for release and re-integration); Relationships classes; Visit Coaching; Rainbow Gazette; Graduations/Family Days. Family Resource Center – Resource Library; Support groups; Toll Free Hotline ( ); Linkages to needed services. Get On The Bus – Free transportation and sexual health information for women visiting men that are imprisoned. Keeping Fathers Connected: Overview of Osborne Programs 12

13 NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents - a coalition of organizations, agencies and stakeholders creating a blueprint for reform; promoting youth empowerment and leadership; and raising public awareness regarding issues affecting CIP. Youth and Family Services - Family Ties, St James Partners for Children, Rap N Chat support group, tutoring program, and Teen College Dreams. Fresh Start - Trains incarcerated men, many of whom are parents, on Rikers Island with both specific job skills (culinary arts)and the life skills they need to stay clean, hold down jobs, and avoid returning to crime. 13

14 For more information, please contact: Will Norris (718) , Tanya Krupat (718) , Randi Blumenthal-Guigui – (845) Weekly Family Support Groups and Hotline: The Osborne Association 14

15 PLEASE COMPLETE EVALUATION BEFORE LEAVING… THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO ON BEHALF OF CHILDREN, FATHERS AND FAMILIES! 15


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