“Responding to the Needs of Children and Families of the Incarcerated in Health and Mental Health Settings”

Health Care settings are chief among the systems that serve children and families of the incarcerated typically without directly addressing the impact of parental incarceration on child health and development. There are many questions regarding the existing conditions and health outcomes for children of incarcerated parents. The question of whether unaddressed health conditions both physical and emotional, create additional risks that can negate the protective factors provided by mentoring and other supportive programming ultimately leading to negative life outcomes is of great concern. There also many questions related to how health and mental health care providers can best support parent/caregivers and parent -child relationships for children with parents in prison or jail. For the first time ever, Health and Mental Health Professionals will engage with those directly impacted by parental incarceration to address current thinking and recommend responses that will inform practice and policy in health care and in other community services for children and families of the incarcerated.

About the Trainers:

Moderator, Carol F. Burton, LMSW, Executive Director of Centerforce, San Rafael, CA. Centerforce offers a range of health prevention and other programs for incarcerated persons and their children and families throughout California. Prior to joining Centerforce Ms. Burton served as the Associate Executive Director of the Osborne Association in New York where she was responsible for services in 21 state prisons and Rikers Island as well as community services for children and families. Ms. Burton spent 12 years as the Director of Project S.E.E.K. in Flint, MI the country’s first comprehensive demonstration project and longitudinal study for 675 children of incarcerated parents. She is the Board Chair of Family and Corrections Network. Panelists Carl C. Bell, M.D. is the Director of the Institute for Juvenile Research; Director of Public and Community Psychiatry; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health; Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also the President & C.E.O of the Community Mental Health Council & Foundation, Inc. a multi-million dollar comprehensive community mental health center located on Chicago’s Southside. For over 30 years, Dr. Bell has practiced psychiatry. As an internationally recognized lecturer and author, he has given numerous presentations on mental wellness, violence prevention, and traumatic stress caused by violence. Dr. Bell has published over 350+ articles on mental health issues. His articles on mental health and violence prevention have appeared in The National Medical Association and Psychiatric Services. Dr. Bell’s work addresses the risk factors experienced by children of incarcerated parents and offers systemic policy and practice recommendations. Stephanie Blenner MD is a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine. She has worked with underserved populations, including families affected by parental incarceration, throughout her career. Her publications include: Incarcerated Parents. In Zuckerman et. al. (eds) Zuckerman and Parker’s Handbook of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (in press), and Developmental and behavioral implications for children of incarcerated parents. UpToDate On Line , 2006. Elizabeth Gaynes, JD is the Executive Director of the Osborne Association, a 75 –year old nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those affected by incarceration and to developing effective approaches for strengthening families and communities, preventing crime and reducing reliance on incarceration. In 1985, following the incarceration of her children’s father, Ms. Gaynes spearheaded the creation of FamilyWorks, the longest running comprehensive parenting program in men’s state prison, and launched some of the nation’s first and most innovative services for children with parents in prison, including children’s visiting centers at upstate New York prisons. A member of the Board of Directors of Family and Corrections Network and of the Advisory Board of the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College, Liz Gaynes is a nationally recognized expert on the impact of incarceration and reentry on children and families. She is the author of “Reentry: Helping Former Prisoners Return to Communities”, a guide published by the Annie E. Casey Foundations (TARC 2006) Trevor Johnson, JD has worked for Connecticut’s Judicial Branch for the past 16 years and is currently a Regional Manager overseeing Adult Probation services in southwest Connecticut. He is also an Adjunct Instructor in the Criminology/Criminal Justice Department at Central Connecticut State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Alabama State University and a Law Degree from Tulane University Law School. His professional interests include evidence-based practices for community corrections workers, public and private partnerships in Criminal Justice, race and justice issues, and expanded use of alternatives to incarceration. His education and career choices were greatly influenced by his past which consisted of growing up poor in a single parent household, relating to a father who spent many years in prison, and overcoming a period of personal involvement with the juvenile justice system. Henrie M. Treadwell, PhD is the Director and Senior Social Scientist for Community Voices. She has an appointment as a full time Research Professor in the department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Her major responsibilities include program oversight and management for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved, a special informing policy initiative that is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Treadwell is the co-editor of “Health Issues in the Black Community (2009).” She has been featured on many major media outlets such as CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight and the Campbell Brown show. Dr. Treadwell is also the founder of the Freedom’s Voice Symposium and the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award, an award to recognize mid-career individuals doing significant work to improve global society. In 2009 Dr. Treadwell focused the Freedom’s Voice Symposium on incarcerated parents and published the article “Children of Incarcerated Parents: Helping the Silent Victims (2009)

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