“I was having a difficult time with my incarceration until this program. Seeing my daughter and bonding with her, seeing her okay helps make me okay. I’ve gotten into less trouble during this incarceration since starting this program.”
– parent in jail
“She seems much happier and talks about her mom more often than before the visits.
Her mom is more a part of her life now. They have a connection again.”
– caregiver of child participant
TeleStory is a free video visiting program for children who have a parent in jail. TeleStory provides a safe, child-friendly space at a local library for children to connect over video with a parent in jail. The TeleStory name and concept was developed from the Brooklyn NY Public Library.
When a child and caregiver arrive at the library, they are greeted by a visitation host who sets up the technology and assists with the visit. Hosts have informational materials on hand for caregivers that offer family strengthening strategies and resources. At the jail, the incarcerated parent is moved to a private room for the visit. Prior to the virtual visit, parents can participate in a workshop called, “Connecting with Kids: Tips for Reading and Visiting”, which covers dialogic reading and how to make visits successful.
During the visits, both the child and the incarcerated parent have access to an identical crate of educational materials, including books, games, toys and conversation cards. The parent and child spend time reading, talking and playing together, all of which builds literacy skills. At the end of each visit, children choose a free book to take home.
WHY TELESTORY MATTERS
- Child-friendly visiting spaces and experiences help reduce stress and anxiety for children, while increasing the quantity and quality of parent-child visits.
- Children and their caregivers become familiar and comfortable with the local library and staff. Families learn about signing up for a library card and receive information on library programs.
- Jailed parents increase their understanding and skills to interact positively with their children.