“This is the best thing I can do for my family while I’m in here. Even though I can’t be home, I’m with them every night.”
– jailed parent in The Literacy Link program
“I should be leaving tomorrow… so I just wanted to thank you for helping me leave a better dad than I came in.”
– Dad in parent education class
Supportive parent-child relationships can act as a buffer to the stress children may experience when their families are involved in local justice systems. The Literacy Link brings a variety of parent education and coaching programs to boost parents’ nurturing skills. From jail classrooms and visitation areas to probation offices to courtrooms, research-based parenting skills are made available for parents and caregivers.
Dialogic Reading and Coaching Workshops – Workshops stress the importance of reading to children even a few minutes each day and ways to use books to have literacy and brain-building conversations with children. Tips are shared with parents on how to read with animation to engage their children. Parents are coached on how to set up reading experiences to eliminate competition and distractions, such as electronic devices.
Visitation Lobbies – While families are waiting to visit their loved ones, information is provided on parenting, child development, and community resources. Children are engaged in learning and literacy activities to make the waiting time productive.
Electronic Tablets – Many facilities provide tablets for incarcerated parents to use. Division of Extension’s parenting and family strengthening materials are being uploaded onto these tablets. Topics include child development, literacy, discipline, relationship building and stress management.
Parenting Inside Out – Parents in jail are offered this evidence-based parenting program and learn how they can improve family relationships and parenting skills.
WHY PARENT EDUCATION AND SUPPORT MATTERS
- Parents learn the importance of using reading as a tool for positive interactions.
- The workshops and tablets teach parents techniques to improve their parenting and relationship skills with their family.
- Children receive a book while visiting their parents, and are allowed to take it home to build their own library.
- Parenting Inside Out is an evidence-based parenting program that has shown to reduce recidivism among incarcerated parents.