Resilience Beyond Incarceration
On any given day. an estimated 2,000 Vermont children experience parental incarceration; that’s 6,000 children a year — the same as the number of Vermont babies born annually. One out of every 17 children in Vermont has had a mom or dad in prison.
The trauma of parental incarceration can affect a child’s life forever. RBI works to reduce adverse effect by supporting children and their caregivers through the challenges that come with involvement in the criminal justice system.
A Letter from our Executive Director:
Dear Lamoille Valley Colleagues and Community Partners,
We are writing to let you know about some changes we’re making to our Resilience Beyond Incarceration (RBI) program. We also want to take this opportunity to convey a deep appreciation for your partnership with RBI over the years. Our collective success improving outcomes for children impacted by parental incarceration has been demonstrated in multiple third-party evaluations over the years. Working together we positively impacted hundreds of Lamoille children and families.
PROGRAM ORIGINS: RBI began in 2002 as a three-year pilot called the Community Justice Project (CJP) focused on family-centered case management for children with parents who were incarcerated; those children are at higher risk for future involvement in the justice system. For over seventeen years, the program (now called RBI) has existed only in the Lamoille region. In an effort to increase awareness of this population across the state, RBI’s scope of services shifted last year to include limited statewide outreach with the production and statewide screenings of the film, DOWNSTREAM, the one-hour documentary about the effects of parental incarceration.
SHIFTING FOCUS: Given the high number of children (about 6,000) and their families/caregivers who are impacted by parental incarceration each year throughout Vermont, we recognized broader reach was needed. This year RBI will focus exclusively on statewide outreach providing consultation, professional development, and technical assistance to increase community capacity to support children of incarcerated parents throughout Vermont.
We are creating a set of tools for providers and families. This RBI toolkit will include:
- Children’s storybook and video
- Families Strong Handbook
- Link to DOWNSTREAM film, website, and discussion guide
- Camp Agape information
- Templates for Parent Responsibility Assessments (for PSIs) and temporary care agreement
- Information about visiting an incarcerated parent and staying in touch with them (facility information)
- Lists of relevant books and movies
Going forward, RBI will not provide clinical case management services in Lamoille. Our work will focus on convening and supporting regional teams around the state, including the Lamoille region, to identify and implement local/regional strategies to improve outcomes for children impacted by parental incarceration. We are excited about working with you and other Lamoille colleagues, as well as our peers around the state, to do this community level work. We realize this change may feel like a loss for our region. And, we have an opportunity to increase our community’s capacity beyond RBI’s limited case management services; by expanding our skills, knowledge, and collaborative responses. We welcome this challenge and invite you to join us in this work.
NEXT STEPS: To help kick start this new focus we will initiate conversations with you to continue to build local capacity to support these children and families. We will wait to initiate this process until the time seems right, given COVID-19’s impact on our lives, so be on the lookout for an invitation to meet with us.
For more details, go to: https://lrcvt.org/resilience-beyond-incarceration/
We recognize Lamoille is losing an important and valuable family support program, and we believe that Vermont as a whole will gain the benefits of all the years of growing our expertise and knowledge. We look forward to moving forward with you to create a strong Lamoille team that is committed to the well-being of children impacted by parental incarceration. We welcome your questions and comments.
Heather Hobart- Executive Director
Tricia Long – Program Director
Clinical Case Management
Most parents in our program have experienced 8 to 10 ACE’s during their own childhood. Without effective intervention and support, intergenerational transmission of multiple adversities is likely.
We are specialists who support healthy child development by reducing risk factors and strengthening families. Our program is voluntary and free. We work with families in their homes, schools, health care and childcare settings, courtrooms and prisons. We provide support throughout the justice process, from arrest through incarceration and reentry.