Family Support Programs
The Family Role
DOC acknowledges the vital role families play in an inmate’s life and the reentry process. We provide programming that is culturally relevant, gender responsive and informative. It is our intention to identify the challenges faced by the families impacted by incarceration, and to provide support and services relative to family needs. These services include parenting classes, assistance with reunification and referrals to other entities providing social services and support.
The Family Services Unit establishes programming with a goal of reducing the likelihood of recidivism and assists families by breaking the cycle of intergenerational incarceration.
The Department of Corrections has publicly recognized the benefits when inmates maintain family relationships during incarceration and supervision. Research has clearly shown the benefits to inmates and their children when the family can maintain contact with the loved one during this time. However, there are a number of barriers to maintaining these connections.
In an effort to recognize and address these barriers, Family Councils have been established at every prison. There is also an active Statewide Family Council. The DOC policy 530.150 Family Centered Services has had major updates.
The local Family Council meeting is open to any interested person; the only restriction is that participants must be approved visitors. At most facilities, participants can attend in person or they can attend over the phone by calling in on a toll–free number.
The council meetings are a great opportunity for family members to ask questions, get information and share their perspective on the facility. The family members run the meeting and establish what will be on the agenda.
The council meetings are attended by the facility Superintendent or Associate Superintendent, the Visit Lieutenant, Correctional Lieutenant or Sergeant, the program staff responsible for family centered programming and other people as needed.
People who want to attend a Family Council meeting should refer to the Family Council brochure for more information.
Support Group Information
You may find a support group near you:
- Kinship Care In Washington State (Statewide information)
- King County Kinship Collaboration (King County information)
- The National Guard Youth Academy empowers at–risk youth
- The facility pages provide facilities to select from for their specific programs
- The Family Help Line (800) 932–HOPE (4673) offers callers information
Family Help Line (800) 932–HOPE (4673)
The Family Help Line is a statewide, toll–free “warm” telephone line and is a program of Parent Trust for Washington Children. The Family Help Line offers callers information and referral, parenting education and techniques, supportive listening and assistance with stress reduction and self–advocacy.
Mentoring Programs for Children of Inmates
Mentoring programs support and enhance parental bonds and children who have mentors. Here are links to organizations providing children–mentoring programs:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Children’s Home Society
- Girl Scouts Beyond Bars
- Mentoring Children of Promise
- Volunteers of America Mentoring Children of Prisoners
- Powerful Voices – Girls in the Seattle Area
- Save Our County’s Kids (SOCK) – Mason County
- Caregiver’s Choice Expanding the World of Quality Mentoring