Since our inception in 2007 in Miami, Children of Inmates has become one of the nation’s largest providers for children of incarcerated parents.
In crossing criminal justice and social service systems, our collaborative has met many needs and concerns, such as:
We’re changing lives.
Our surveys show almost 90 percent of our children are experiencing stronger bonds with their imprisoned parents and caregivers -- and more than 70 percent of the children are engaged in pro-social behaviors.
By providing wrap-around services, we are preventing or mitigating anti-social behaviors.
Through our multi-disciplinary collaboration, we will continue building support in Florida and across the nation for children whose lives have been upended by their parents’ incarceration.
Our organization is also having a lasting impact on the criminal justice system by keeping inmates from returning to prison and preventing their children from engaging in a life of crime.
Research has demonstrated that inmates with a strong family reunification plan are less likely to re-offend and return to prison.
By working to reconnect children to their incarcerated parents on a quarterly basis, we are rebuilding family ties for inmates and assisting them in their transition back to the community.
As a result, Florida Department of Corrections has included Children of Inmates in its re-entry plans.
Leveraging Public Funds
As a network, Children of Inmates has secured funds from Children’s Trust of Miami Dade, Florida Department of Corrections, and Florida Department of Children and Families to help children deal with instability, social stigma, and emotional trauma that otherwise would have diminished their future.
Because each agency in our group is part of a larger entity, we have been able to leverage separate funding received by individual organizations to benefit our entire network -- and ultimately the children.
For example, one of our partners, Hope for Miami, had secured a $180,000 grant to provide mentoring services for at-risk youth. So it made sure to offer the benefits of mentoring to dozens of children in our network.
Our partnership also saves considerable money by purchasing in bulk, managing our expenses, and using creative thinking. During our first year of operation, we spent more than $58,000 on supplies for children, including school supplies, games, toys, and basic needs. In subsequent years, we reduced our annual costs to about $20,000, thereby saving more than $100,000 in just three years.
Savings for Corrections
Through the success of our Bonding Visits, the Secretary and Wardens in Florida Department of Corrections have found that we are creating cost savings for them, too.
When children visit their incarcerated parents, not only is the bond between child and parent strengthened, but the morale and attitude of the incarcerated parent improves as well.
The Wardens noted that inmates participating in our program were less likely to have disciplinary reports. That means, the prisons avoid expensive solitary confinement expenses including costs of correctional guards, special facilities, etc.
Based on estimates, Children of Inmates has saved taxpayers more than $80,000 in institutional housing costs over the years for the more than750 inmates who have taken part in our program.