On October 8th The White House convened a follow up to its 2013 “Champions of Change” event to look further at the unique obstacles faced by children of incarcerated parents. The event entitled Empowering Our Young People, and Stemming the Collateral Damage of Incarceration provided an opportunity for invited guests to hear updates on the initiatives that were introduced at the 2013 Champions of Change event. The day also included panel presentations, a preview of the film: Visiting Through the Youth Lens, by the Echoes of Incarceration project, presentations by several senior government officials, and remarks by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council . Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler-Fleiss also spoke about her personal experience as the child of an incarcerated parent..

A short preview of “Visiting: Through the Youth Lens,” was debuted and was indeed the cornerstone of the event. This documentary film was created by the Echoes of Incarceration Project, in partnership with Sesame Workshop. Echoes of Incarceration provides intensive filmmaking and advocacy training to youth aged 16 to 22 to produce documentary films told from their own life experiences as children of incarcerated parents. Look for updates on this and other films in the Echoes of Incarceration series on children of the incarcerated later this year.

NRCCFI Director Ann Adalist-Estrin participated on a panel about the needs and experiences of children of the incarcerated which followed the film and included two of the young filmmakers, Jasmine Barclay and Francis Adjei, and Eugene Schneeberg, Director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships for the U.S. Department of Justice. Ms. Adalist-Estrin answered the question “What are the unique challenges that children of incarcerated parents face?” Read Ann Adalist-Estrin’s White House Remarks . Ms. Barclay and Mr. Adjei brilliantly shared their stories as children of incarcerated parents and Mr. Schneeberg addressed the work of the Interagency Working Group on Children of the Incarcerated which he co-chairs with Madeleine Solan from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services, who moderated the panel.

See article in Policy Forum.