Engaging and Working with African American Fathers in Prison: Fathers and Children Together Experience Initiative. In L.S. Rollins (Ed.), Engaging and Working with African American Fathers: Strategies and Lessons Learned.

Dec 2020 | Diane Aisha Sears

Abstract: Approximately 2.3 million souls are languishing in prisons throughout the United States - many of whom are fathers. At some point, these souls will return to their families and resume the role of mentoring and nurturing their children. Yet they have received very little in the way of parenting or child-rearing classes during their incarceration and have not had access to programs that help them maintain a relationship with their children or learn co-parenting skills. As a result, incarcerated parents - particularly fathers - are asking themselves: "How can I maintain a dominant presence in the life of my child while I am incarcerated? Will I be able to rebuild the bond I had with my child before I was incarcerated?" This chapter will describe the Fathers and Children Together (F.A.C.T.) Experience Initiative developed and co-facilitated at State Correctional Institute - Phoenix (SCI) in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is a national model for helping incarcerated African American fathers assume a more proactive role in the lives of their children in a manner that transcends the geographical boundaries created by their incarceration. Simultaneously, the two-tiered solutions-based initiative - through orientation sessions and workshops co-facilitated by community stakeholders - addresses fatherlessness, intergenerational incarceration, and the "school-to-prison" pipeline. 

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