Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $744,564)
The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) proposes to strengthen family connections between incarcerated mothers and their minor children. Understanding the stress and trauma that parental incarceration can often present for children and parents, the ADOC believes that partnering with local nonprofits, community-based organizations, and other community stakeholders is key to providing incarcerated parents and families with more comprehensive reentry resources and programming. The ADOC will increase participation in evidence-based programs focused on improving mother/child bonding and attachment despite the physical separation, provide individualized coaching and support for these mothers and provide more opportunities for incarcerated mothers to connect with their minor children, in person and through video visitation. The ADOC will also partner with experienced professionals to provide family-friendly visitation activities for incarcerated mothers and their children at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and Montgomery Women’s Facility. These coordinated visitation activities will include transportation for caregivers and the children, child-friendly activities during visitation, photos of mothers and children, and a nutritious meal for mothers and their children to share during the visit. Additional methods to create stronger maternal bonds will include a storybook program, in which mothers are video recorded reading a book that is then provided to their children. With assistance of stakeholders, ADOC plans to implement age appropriate programming for the children of these incarcerated mothers using the Extended Family for Kids curriculum designed to help decrease stress by building self- esteem, communication skills, addressing anger issues and helping the child make healthy choices. These stakeholders will be part of the facility-based workshops the ADOC plans to conduct as well as the community-based event focused on supporting children of incarcerated mothers, to include presentation and access to key community services providers that support justice involved families, such as the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Department of Public Health, public schools, churches and other stakeholder groups.