Dorchester Dept. of Health receives major grant to help kids with incarcerated parents

CAMBRIDGE, Md. – The Dorchester County Health Department received an almost $700,000 grant to help kids who have parents who are behind bars.

The program Connecting For Success, also known as C.F.S. is going into its third year this June. It’s a collaboration between the school system, Health Department and Department of Corrections.

The hope is that by allowing kids to visit their parents who are in prison, more often, the prison cycle also known as recidivism will end. Officials tell 47 ABC it’s an issue happening in Dorchester, which has an 80 percent recidivism rate, meaning a majority of people return to prison after they leave.

“We also know that strengthening the ties between children and their justice involved parent is really important in, not just reducing recidivism for that individual, but for generational recidivism,” says Mindy Black-Kelly, the Social Work Supervisor for Connecting For Success.

Besides trying to reduce the number of people who return to prison, the Director of Corrections says the C.F.S. program has already drastically reduced the number of violent incidents happening inside the facility.

C.F.S. has created classes like yoga and anger management, where inmates are learning skills they can use while they build relationships with their kids.

“After they complete the parenting class we allow the kids to come in and we have a two hour period, where they tried to use the skills that they learned in the class. And it’s just the kids. There’s nobody else. It’s just the kids and their parents,” says Joseph Hughes, Director of Corrections at Dorchester County.

Officials hope funding for this program continues, so they can build upon the innovative classes to help both kids and their parents.

To learn more about this program, contact the Dorchester County Health Department at 410-228-3223 or click here.

Categories: Local News, Maryland