Bringing Children of Incarcerated to their Parents

November 7th, 2007

If you’re a parent, being separated from your kids is never easy. Maybe they’re off at college? Maybe they had to take a job in another town. Or maybe it’s the parent who had to leave home and do some time.What do you do and whom do you turn to when you are an incarcerated mother with small children? Many offenders who want to maintain contact with their kids don’t have a way to transport their child to and from correctional facilities. Many Illinois prisons are hours away from the big city, and for inner-city caregivers who don’t own cars, taking a child to visit their parents is out of the question.Maintaining family relationships while offenders serve sentences benefits both the child and the incarcerated parent. Recognizing the importance of this bond, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois provides the Connections program – a transportation service bringing children to their mothers during visitor hours.

The Connections program offers other services like the storybook program where prisoners record themselves reading children’s books to their kids. This way, their child can hear their parent’s voice anytime they want. For women returning to their communities, Connections offers re-entry services like job training and personal support.

On thisepisode of Community, Media & You, we’ll have a conversation about the support Lutheran Social Services of Illinois provides and hear the stories of two participants of the Connections program.

Hosted by Thom Clark of the Community Media Workshop @ Columbia College, joining Thom on this show is Ranjana Bhargava, Director of Programs from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, current program participant Joyce McClellan and former participant, Bobbie Henri.

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