Parenting from Prison: Innovative Programs to Support Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers. Getting Creative: Innovative Supports for Father-Child Relationships


Picture of man with funny hat looking at computer screen. In addition to supporting in-person contact, programs undertook a host of other creative strategies to help families supplement in-person visits and increase the level of connectedness between fathers and their children. These included components of programming offered to participants, as well as special incentives to participation. Child and Family Services of New Hampshire/New Hampshire Department of Corrections offered video visiting, encouraging all fathers who completed the prerequisite parenting course to participate. Families could participate in these visits from their homes or, for those without high-speed Internet capabilities, from one of several satellite offices located throughout the state. In addition, the program offered fathers the chance to create storybook audiotapes for their children. Fathers recorded stories and other positive messages on the tapes, which were sent home to their children. In a similar effort, Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota partnered with the education division of the South Dakota Department of Corrections to give fathers enrolled in relationship education classes the opportunity to create video diaries for their children. Men were provided with a free or subsidized DVD and the chance to record themselves doing something special for their children, such as reading a book, reading a letter, or playing a musical instrument. The DVDs were then mailed home to participants children.

The RIDGE Project (Ohio) encouraged letter-writing and telephone communication by providing its participants with subsidized telephone calls and letter-writing supplies. The Shelby County Division of Corrections (Tennessee) provided child-oriented incentives to encourage caregiver participation in its family strengthening program. Participating co-parents received a $10 gas card to defray the costs of each child-friendly visit in which they participated. Those who completed the relationship education course received a $50 school uniform voucher for their children.

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