Mid year FY 2022:
The jail-version of the Parenting Inside Out (PIO) program was started in early July 2021 but shut down after only two class sessions due to a Covid 19 outbreak in the facility. We were able to resume class in late September and continue until November. Although we served seven (7) fathers between the two abridged classes, none received a certificate of completion due to attrition (release from incarceration, transfer to DOC or another facility such as an inpatient rehab).
One participant completed 70% of the class and was eligible for the “pre” and “post” survey comparison measure. This participant showed an increase in overall parenting knowledge, reported feeling “very satisfied” with the class, reported an improvement in the quality of his relationship with his children as well as increased communication with his children through phone calls and video visits. His additional comments were “(This was) one of the best classes I have ever attended. I have learned so much about parenting skills that wouldn’t be possible without Mrs. Sue and Mrs. Mindy. They are the absolute best teachers.”
Our Outreach Workers assessed level of family involvement on intake assessments and/or support plans with 39 justice involved parents during this reporting period.
Our Mental Health therapists served 22 children with a justice involved parent and held a total of 444 individual, family or group sessions during which parent-child relationship issues were addressed ongoing. These sessions were held both in-person and via teletherapy conducted via the secure platform doxy.me.
A Parenting Inside Out (PIO) class was held in the community October – December 2021. We partnered with Hudson Townhomes who allowed the use of their community center for group sessions. We had 2 justice-involved parent participants. Both received a certificate of completion.
Both (100%) had an increased score on the PIO post-test which measures parenting knowledge and attitudes.
Both (100%) reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the parenting information.
Both (100%) reported that the quality of their relationship with their child(ren) improved and had increased communication with their child(ren). One (50%) re-gained custody of her children as a result of completing the class.
As well, both participants enrolled in the case management component of our program upon completion of the class.
Participant comments were: “I’m very, very thankful for this class and the help. I feel I needed this class and it needs to be open to more parents. I will use this to become a more hands on parent.”
CFS began our Anger Management Mindful Movements (AMMM) yoga class in July 2021. We were able to complete 4 out of 6 classes (66%) with three (3) fathers before being shut down due to a Covid 19 outbreak in the facility. We were unable to resume the class later in this reporting period due to complicated logistics within the facility such as the gym being designated as a holding area for ICE and/or for quarantine as needed.
Our Outreach Workers served a total of 39 justice involved clients with case management services and had a total of 566 face to face or video encounters (in the jail, community or office-based settings). In addition, 4 caregivers were supported with case management services and a total of 44 face to face/video encounters took place. Thirty-two (32) “Getting Ahead While Getting Out” groups sessions were held at DDC involving a total of 29 parents. Eight (8) “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World” groups sessions were held in the community with 4 parents participating. In addition, 21 Life Skills group sessions were held with 6 parents participating.
Mental health services were provided both in-person and via telehealth. Yoga and mindfulness techniques were utilized coping strategies for most of the clients we served. Case management was a regular part of working with COIPs and their families in therapy. Several COIPs were referred for psychiatric evaluations/medication management and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (PRP) services as a case management function of treatment. COIPs and their families were directed to community resources for food baskets and holiday gift assistance.
The mental health therapists continued to assist COIPs with letter writing/drawings to his/her incarcerated parent as well as facilitate phone calls as part of the treatment process. Following parent-teacher conferences at the end of September, (see “significant accomplishments” section), we were able to send some Grade Level books to those incarcerated parents who participated in a conference. These books were the same as his/her child was currently reading in school so that they could read together during phone calls or video visits. This took coordinating with case workers at each facility and in some cases, multiple emails and phone calls to multiple people, but persistence won out in the end!
We were unable to facilitate in-person visits post PIO class. We did not have any “graduates” to offer this to during this past reporting period, but there were also Covid 19 restrictions in place at DDC as well as staff shortages that would have made this difficult even if we had eligible participants.
FY 18 Mid year Challenges:
Negotiating the “punitive” vs “rehabilitative” views of incarceration among many corrections officers continues to be challenging, however we feel the in-service trainings provided by our program have made a difference in changing mindsets for some.
Knowledge of community resources is lacking for many incarcerated parents. He/she can be very vulnerable in those first few days after release and if not immediately connected with services, safe places to go, or the Outreach Worker, can easily become involved with the same elements that led to incarceration in the first place. The recidivism rate in Dorchester County has been close to 80% for the many months. Our staff continues to assist in the coordination of applicable “guest speakers” for our “inside parents” in an attempt to close this knowledge gap.
It has continued to be the case that some guardians do not want the child(ren) to have contact with the incarcerated parent due to the nature of the crime or parent-child relationship (child physical/sexual abuse, violence in the home, etc.). As well, there is a direct link between the opioid epidemic and incarceration for many of our families. There is an incredible amount pain, trauma and negative emotions associated with the incarcerated parent for many of our child clients. In some cases, the children and their guardians have been lied to, stolen from, abused/assaulted or witnessed abuse due to addiction and doing “whatever it takes” to obtain drugs or money for drugs. Often, this is at the emotional forefront of treatment as opposed to “loss” due to the physical separation of the child and their offending parent. The incarceration of a parent for some children is a “break” from the trauma of living with an addicted and/or abusive parent. As a result, some children show a higher CAFAS score as they process this trauma in counseling, before stabilizing
FY 19 Mid year Challenges:
- Although collaboration with our local Detention Center has been excellent, developing ties with DOC prison staff has been a more recent challenge. When we know that a DOC inmate, usually the parent of child we are already working with, is expected to be coming back to Dorchester County, our staff tries to connect with that individual or the facility to begin a re-entry plan within 1-2 months of release. We know that this early connection increases rates of follow through in our program and ultimately decreases recidivism. DOC case workers and social workers change, inmates are transferred, and DOC staff haven’t been particularly responsive to phone calls or emails, which has been frustrating.
- It has been challenging with a small staff of 3.8 FTEs to run several types of groups continuously, simultaneously AND in various settings, while continuing to provide individual outreach services, therapy, and “special events” within our 2-generational approach model.