Parenting Inside Out (PIO) (Harford County FY18 - Annual)

Program Summary

Parenting Inside Out (PIO) is an evidenced-based cognitive-behavioral parenting skills training program based on the Oregon Social Learning Center’s Parent Management Training (PMT) program for at-risk families.  PIO has been reviewed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and is the highest rated parenting program for incarcerated and criminal justice involved parents on its National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).  Topics include communication skills, problem solving, emotion regulation, child development, non-violent discipline techniques, positive reinforcement, monitoring and healthy family dynamics. 

Target Population

The program will target incarcerated mothers and fathers in the detention center and parents on parole or probation in the community.  Parents may or may not have daily contact with their children.  Parents can be referred by the Harford County Detention Center (and programs within the detention center), the Harford County Community Mediation Program, the Harford County Opiate Recovery Court, and the Project SEEK program.  

Data Discussion

FY21: The word "participating" to capture data should be used and not "enrolled" as is in the Scorecard currently.  A parent could be enrolled and not be participating.  It is not measuring the same data.  

Due to COVID-19, all aspects of programming went virtual.  In-person program services were affected.   

Current Actual Value
Current Target Value
% Change
FY 2022
FY 2022
Story Behind the Curve

Research indicates prisons and community agencies should provide parenting classes for inmates while they are incarcerated and when they are released to support reunification with children and family members in a safe and appropriate way.  Adverse childhood experiences (ACES) are the most basic and long-lasting cause of health risk behaviors, mental illness, social malfunction, disability, medical disease, death, health care and social costs.  The ACE study provides both a retrospective and prospective analysis of the effects of 10 categories of adverse life experiences in childhood.  The 10 experiences include physical, emotional or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; a parent with mental illness, substance dependence, or history of incarceration; domestic violence; or parent separation/divorce.  Data from 2015 shows there are 947 individuals incarcerated and 2,012 individuals under parole and probation in Harford County.  In Maryland, 15% of children have experienced two or more adverse experiences from 2015-2016 compared to the country at 22%.  Caregivers and children affected by parental incarceration experience more trauma than other families. Strengthening the relationship between the incarcerated parent and child can improve the child's well-being by reducing anxiety, feelings of abandonment, mental health issues, and improve behavior and academic performance in school.  

For FY19, HCAA faced low completion numbers for both community participants and the detention center inmates. The detention center low completion rates are attributed to 3 main reasons: 1) the inmates are released before the class ends 2) the inmates get in trouble (or someone in their dorm gets in trouble so they are lockdown) and/or 3) they come to one class and they simply do not like the content of the class so they do not return.  We work very closely with the Re-Entry Coordinator as well as the Programs Manager in the detention center to assist us with vetting inmates serious about completing the class. Beginning FY20, as an incentive, inmates will receive 2 days off of their sentences if they complete our class. 
In the community there are many reasons as to why there are low completion rates, some include but are not limited to: 1) transportation issues 2) class is held during business/work hours 3) daycare provider shortage and/or 4) the length of the PIO Community Curriculum. The reasons listed above are the issues we have come across when trying to hold a class in our office. We partnered with the WAGE Connection in Aberdeen towards the end of FY18 because those students are mandated to take a variety of classes, and PIO was an interesting subject to throw into the mix. We have had success with participation, but completion was low because the students either get jobs or have family obligations that must be taken care of. 

  • The Harford County Sheriff's Office partners with Harford Community Action Agency (HCAA) to refer incarcerated parents to the PIO program.
  • The Harford County Public Library is working with HCAA to provide space at the library for community classes and promote the program through advertisement and marketing. 
  • Aberdeen Wage Connection is a location where the community classes were held and will be held in FY19.  They refer their clients to the program who have a history of incarceration.
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