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- Community & Family Initiatives Department
- Family Friendly Jail Initiative (FFJI)
Parental incarceration can be difficult for a child. When a parent goes to jail, the child may experience challenges in family relationships, at school and in their community. The stigma of having an incarcerated parent can affect mental health and social interactions. FFJI strives to support kids and parents in this stressful situation to build connections and resiliency. There are three components of the program: Parent Education, Family Friendly Visiting, and the Family Community Liaison.
The Goal is to promote the well-being of children of incarcerated parents by addressing changes within the policies, systems, and environments that result in more responsiveness to children’s needs.
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The Family Community Liaison
The focus of the liaison is to help children build and maintain strong attachment to their parents during and, especially, after incarceration. There are many community agencies in our county whose services may be available to the families, along with our country school districts, who are partners in this effort. An overview of the things the liaison can help with are:
• Connect families to community resources
• Assist children navigate through big, emotional feelings they may be struggling with; I have developed social emotional kits for kids who are struggling how to express their feelings. I also have a lot of books geared towards kids who have experienced parents who are incarcerated or away.
• Work with the schools and the caregivers/parents so everyone is aware of how the child/ren are doing in school
• Set up Zoom school conferences with parents who are incarcerated so they can still participate and stay updated with the child/ren’s education
• Assist with setting up visitations for the child/ren
• Help arrange transportation
• Assess strength and needs of families
• Assist families in signing up for any public work support they may need such as,
• Medical assistance
• Food assistance
• Childcare assistance
• (trained on using Bridge to Benefits and Help Me Connect)
• If the parents participated in the parenting education program while incarcerated, help continue their involvement with the Parenting Inside Out program within the community class.
• Referral to an online support group for children of incarcerated parents