Children of Inmates is a collaborative effort between twelve Florida organizations. By bringing together the leaders of established community and faith-based service organizations, we were able to put power and energy into our mission; therefore reaching a greater number of community members than if we were to reach out single-handedly. As a caring, educated, and vibrant output-oriented Service Team, our job is to ensure that every child and caregiver who walks through our doors receive the highest level of care and services. Together, our team members identify, encourage, and refer families to the services that will meet the needs of the children in our care, based on their development and circumstances.
Justice & Security Strategies, Inc. (JSS) www.jssinc.org
JSS has extensive experience in working collaboratively with law enforcement, homeland security, health care, and other social and public services. We routinely advocate for, and expedite the forming of, important partnerships that will best serve the needs of targeted populations. In relation to Children of Inmates, we serve as the team coordinator responsible for organizing and facilitating the progress of the Team. To date, we have played an integral part in the process of establishing Children of Inmates by defining and solving problems as they emerge. Moving forward, JSS continues to assist in building the operational infrastructure, developing research and advocacy materials, training staff, evaluating performance against our benchmarks, build relationships with the criminal justice community and conducting public outreach to raise awareness of, and within, the at-risk youth population we are trying to reach.
Agape Network www.agapefamilyministries.org
Founded in 1982, Agape Family Ministries helps Miami-Dade County inmates, particularly female inmates, and their families. Supported by local churches through monetary donations and volunteer hours, the agency has been highly successful. As a whole, Agape Family Ministries offers a number of programs that are largely directed at helping women end the cycle of addiction, domestic violence, joblessness, and homelessness. One program of note is the residential program that helps to support previously incarcerated female inmates and their children. This program was developed in response to the challenges that the female population face upon release from prison. Often times, these female community members find themselves lured back to the behaviors that landed them in jail; unwittingly taken back by the pimps or drug-addicted boyfriends that have played a prominent role in their lives for so long. The only gender-specific program of its kind in South Dade, Agape commits time and energy to these women, to help get them back on their feet so they can lead self-sufficient lives and appropriately care for their children. Highly successful, it far exceeds the minimum requirements set forth by the state for treatment programs. As part of this network, Agape wears two hats. This first is by serving as Care Coordination Center and providing case management services to approximately 80 children in Southern Miami-Dade County. Additionally, we work hand-in-hand with JSS to facilitate the relationship between the Team, the Florida Department of Corrections, and the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections.
Christian Family Worship Center (CFWC) www.cfwcfl.org
A faith-based resource center, CFWC provides services for more than 500 adults, 90 teenagers, and 80 children under 12-yeas-old. The vision of this organization is to be a place of love, acceptance, and forgiveness, creating an authentic and vibrant atmosphere in which life can be shared and meaningful relationships can be built and nurtured. CFWC works to build and strengthen families through a variety of services that include the creative arts, as well as a couples' ministry and a parenting/strong families academy. Day care is provided to infants through 3-year-olds, while a family academy is in place for children 4 to 12. The Oasis Kidz special programming reaches across all age groups, infant to 12. In addition, CFWC partners with other community-based service centers, Stomp Basketball league, and summer camps to deliver services to at-risk youth. CFWC contributes to the Network as a Care Coordination Center, establishing and operating community-based case management headquarters and providing case management services to approximately 40 children in southern Miami-Dade County.
Elijah Network, Inc. www.elijahnetwork.org
A non-profit, faith-based organization, the Elijah Network specializes in risk-reduction for destructive youth behaviors such as teenage pregnancy, and juvenile substance abuse. We are the lead agency of a multi-agency task force, formed to prevent child murder and violence in the south Miami-Dade area. A member of "Project Safe Neighborhoods" since 2002, twe have worked to forge a bond with at-risk youth in pre-identified neighborhoods. Their goal is to train them to identify potential conflicts before they escalate and to resolve those conflicts in a manner which do not involve violence. Elijah Network has provided substance abuse prevention training for 150 teen parents, and given life skills training to more than 1500 youth. In addition to our direct involvement with the at-risk youth, Elijah Network has trained police officers, and church volunteers to implement a "Strengthening Families" program. Elijah Network has been the recipient of the Best Practice/Model Program award in the prevention category at the Florida Governor's Faith/Community Based Conference for their "New Heights Project." Elijah Network serves as the Prevention Lead Member, identifying and developing specialized prevention programs, and coordinating standardized care across all community-based care centers.
Hope for Miami www.hopeformiami.org
Hope for Miami mentors organizations and develops children and youth by connecting them to effective programs, resources and volunteers so that our communities thrive.
The foundation of Hope for Miami’s approach to community service and renewal is the belief that the well-being of our neighborhoods is best served when all the resources God has provided us with are applied to the many challenges around us.
Therefore, we encourage those groups we work with to collaborate with other local agencies and entities whenever possible. It’s a principle that works within the context of solid relationships built on trust, integrity, openness and cooperation.
Hope for Miami serves as a Care Coordination Center and provides case management services to approximately 150 children in Miami-Dade County.
Hosanna Community Foundation www.hosannacommunitybc.org
The mission of the Hosanna Community Foundation is to “impact the Miami-Dade community through the provision of high quality youth and family programs and to cultivate an environment for continuous personal growth and to explore new opportunities that increase the quality of life for the communities served.” A not-for-profit organization, we exclusively provides social services that help develop and enhance life, health, education, and work related skills.Hosanna Community Foundation serves as a Care Coordination Center and provides case management services to approximately 50 children in the middle Miami-Dade County area.
An information technology firm that is focused on assisting social service organizations, NetString creates our technological infrastructure to ensure that the Service Network for Children of Inmates operates as efficiently as possible as a seamless virtual collaboration of organization. In order to share our information with as many individuals as possible, we are largely dependent on having a reliable information technology consulting firm at our disposal. NetString has developed a web-based virtual office, as well as our resource-rich web site. We are working closely with the Network to identify and design technological solutions for increasing communication and bonds between children and their caregivers, including the incarcerated parent. Our goal is to raise awareness of the needs of children with incarcerated parents, to engage caring adults and most importantly, to make our services accessible to everyone.
Peacemakers Family Service Center, Trinity Church www.peacemakers.com
Peacemakers Family Service Center of Trinity Church partners with the county, the state, and the federal government to help our clients who need a loving hand of social service care. Established in the year 2000, Peacemakers has helped numerous individuals and in-transition families realize their dream of self-sufficiency. Serving over 500 people per week, this organization works directly with clients to identify their needs, create an action plan, provide mentoring and daycare, and then assist them with obtaining social services to help reach their goal. We have been so successful in their mission that President George W. Bush cited Peacemakers as a model faith-based social services program on March 1, 2005, at the White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Leadership Conference.
Peacemakers facilitates a number of community programs that assist families and at-risk youth. Among other things, we also provide:
- Job readiness training
- GED classes
- Life coaching
- Part-time employment at local businesses
- Home ownership classes
- Home ownership classes
- A summer day camp to children from low-income and "working poor"
- Homework help
- Arts and crafts
- Creative arts
- FCAT preparation
One of our most notable programs to date is the ACCESS Florida Initiative, started in the summer of 2005, when Peacemakers partnered with the Florida Department of Children and Family Services. We began providing intake services to area families whom were eligible for state assistance. An often confusing and overwhelming sea of forms and interviews, Peacemakers took the mystery out of the process and began one-on-one sit-down's with these clients, helping them fill out the forms, and ensuring that that paperwork was processed in a timely manner. Peacemakers reached approximately 150 children through the establishment and operation of the Care Coordination headquarters in the North Miami-area. As a Care Coordination Center Team Members, we provide case management, proactive referrals, and specialized services to our children.
Since 1994, ArtSpring has achieved national recognition for the longest ongoing arts-in-corrections programming in Florida, currently providing quality arts-based, educational workshops to over 600 inmates and juveniles per year. ArtSpring believes in the power of art to transform individuals and strengthen communities. Our mission is to use educational arts programming to develop self-growth and effective life skills for incarcerated women, men and youth, as well as other at-risk populations in under-served communities. Our programs empower participants to redirect their lives, resulting in a healthier and safer society. Over the years, ArtSpring has shown that the arts increase self-esteem, reduce negative behavior and create positive environments. ArtSpring’s interdisciplinary arts programs incorporate theatre, dance, writing, visual art, music, storytelling, meditation, guided imagery and performance as transformational tools for self-reflection and creative expression to foster personal change. As a member of the Service Network for Children of Inmates, ArtSpring offers the infusion of expressive arts activities, complementing the services provided by other partners in the Network.
Digital Storyline www.digitalstoryline.com
Digital Storyline focuses on multimedia storytelling for nonprofits, government agencies, and small businesses. As a team of interactive journalists, social media specialists, graphic designers and web developers their company combines years of expertise in these fields to the changing needs of today’s digital environment. Digital Storyline builds customized websites, blogs, and social media pages and fills them with captivating content that displays a client's achievement, expertise, successes, and challenges. Their mission is to bring to life the work of organizations.
As traditional media like newspapers and TV stations started to decay in the past decade, Digital Storyline saw a need for nonprofits, think tanks and government agencies to tell their own stories using Web 2.0 techniques like social media, blogging and search engine optimization. They are in the business of helping organizations organize, initiate and maintain their media presence.
Their job as a partner with the COI service network is to manage the organization's advocacy. That means, they write content or the website, feed the blog, run the social media, and handle some media relations. With the help of all the Network's partners, they have been able to facilitate national media coverage of the organization's work and create an active presence on social media with thousands of fans and followers supporting the mission of the group,
Living Stones International www.welivingstones.org
At Living Stones International the motto is, “to strengthen one marriage, to save one family, and to raise up one child at a time!” They achieve this through three primary programs: a fatherhood ministry, a prison ministry and a marriage counseling ministry. Having freshly joined the team, Living Stone’s role within the Network of Children of Inmates is established as a
care coordination center. Based in Tallahassee, FL they have begun to incorporate the same protocol that exists in South Florida within the prisons located in the capitol. Since they already have a sustainable prison ministry and presence within the Tallahassee prisons, they are organizing their own prison visits with the children of incarcerated parents.
What makes Living Stones unique is that they are not only taking the children into the prisons to visit their incarcerated parents, but they can provide the inmates and caregivers with marriage counseling and fatherhood training.
The Montgomery’s, a pastoral couple that leads the organization, says that “we saw a change in the type of person going to prison, and we figured we need to do something to prevent that.” Through a National Fatherhood Initiative grant, they have been investigating the neighborhoods of Tallahassee. They found that there is little to no help for teen dads. So they work with these young men and other offenders in the juvenile delinquency system as a means of prevention.
The four counties they service in Tallahassee are Gadson, Jefferson, Leon and Wakulla.
Silent Victims of Crime www.silentvictimsofcrime.org
Silent Victims of Crime (SVC) mission is to end the intergenerational cycle of incarceration by leading youth to be “College Bound,” The cost of incarceration in Federal prisons is $25,895 per year. The cost of a public college 4-year degree is $8,310 per year. SVC works to create national awareness that will encourage further studies and program through presentation, newsletters, mailings, events and mentoring activities. The goal of SVC is to cultivate a national collaborative effort based on the 5 Circles of Support model including youth empowerment, parents’ and caregivers’ programs, community services and programs, transportation, mentoring and peer support.