Message from INCCIP Chairperson
Dear INCCIP colleagues,
What an extraordinary time this is. We have seen visits to prisons and jails suspended, followed by the introduction of mobile phones and video visits as an option in prisons in a number of countries for the first time. Many countries have since resumed in-person visits, while others have had to shut down again following a resurgence of COVID cases. Meanwhile, the tension in the US and other countries around racial and political divides has intensified, and the future economic fallout of COVID remains uncertain.
Yet through all of this, we see big and small victories – and ones that mean the world to those who experience them. The Wells of Hope school in Uganda has received new computers to support online learning for their students. South Korea has made significant progress in receiving Government recognition of the rights of children with incarcerated parents. I had the privilege of attending the first virtual graduation ceremony for the fabulous ScholarCHIPS programme for students with an incarcerated parent from Washington DC. And through INCCIP, we learn about and share all of these things, and many more!
This newsletter sees the start of some regular features we hope you will find useful. The two new features in this newsletter are Funding Opportunities and Good Practice in Assisting Children with Incarcerated Parents, written by Koen Sevenants, PhD in Child Psychology. and INCCIP Board Member.
Every day, I feel privileged to be part of such a growing and energised network of people working to make a real difference for children with incarcerated parents. I hope you are equally proud to be one of them.
All the very best,
International Coalition of Children With Incarcerated Parents (INCCIP) Board of Directors
INCCIP Board Members Back row (left to right): Francis Ssuubi (INCCIP Ambassador), Luciano Cadoni, Ben Raikes, Park, Kyoung Hyeon, Jessica Reid, Blake Tijerina, Avon Hart-Johnson (Vice-Chair) | Front row: Kyung Rim Lee, Nancy Loucks (Chair), Adam Hutchinson, Liz Gordon (Treasurer). Video Screen: Lorna Brooks. Board members not shown in photo: Lawrence Amesu, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, PhD (INCCIP Secretary), and Koen Sevenants.
Dr Lorna Brookes PhD MSc PGdip BAhons has over a decade of experience running community-based support groups and individual therapeutic support for children impacted by parental imprisonment. Lorna is the founder of The MyTime Project (www.themytimeproject.com) and is also a senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, lecturing in Education and Early Childhood Studies. Lorna enables children and young people impacted by parental imprisonment to be child activists and consultants in research and policy change. In June 2109, Lorna hosted the first ever child led prisoner’s children conference in Westminster where 30 young people gave keynote speeches and led breakout sessions to parliamentarians, policy officials, and MPs, featured in the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities brochure as an example of good practice. Lorna led the first ever INCCIP Youth Ambassador Programme at the 2nd INCCIP conference in Huddersfield in the UK and continues to support the youth ambassadors and development of the youth programme moving forwards. Lorna is now in the process of setting up MyTime Project sister projects throughout the UK.
Luciano Cadoni has worked since 2011 as Program Officer for the Protection of the Rights of the Child for CWS (Church World Service), based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His background includes eight years working in Africa, primarily in South Africa and Mozambique, as well as on the Thai/Burma border in Asia with different NGOs which use soccer and sport as tools for social development. Since 2014, Luciano has accompanied and led the formation and coordinated the actions of the “Latin America and Caribbean Regional Platform for the Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents of Incarcerated Parents” (the Spanish acronym of which is “Plataforma NNAPES”). In that role, Luciano has represented CWS and the Platforma at different national, regional and international events related to the issue, including several international conferences in the U.S. He has a Bachelor´s degree in Physical Education, a specialisation in Sports Management, and is currently doing Master’s degree studies in Urban Social Policies. Luciano has recently coordinated and written national and regional reports about the issue.
Liz Gordon PhD LLB (INCCIP Treasurer) is a Barrister and social policy researcher living in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has worked on research and evaluation projects for more than 15 years with Pillars, a charity that works with the families and children of prisoners. She is currently (2014-2019) President of Pillars. Liz is one of the founders of INCCIP, and hosted the first conference in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2017.
Dr. Avon Hart-Johnson (INCCIP Vice-Chair) is the president and co-founder of DC Project Connect (DCPC), a Washington, D.C. (United States)-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organisation that provides crisis support, advocacy, and psychoeducational services for families affected by incarceration. A published author, Dr. Hart-Johnson has lectured both nationally and abroad on topics related to her journal articles, books, and other publications. Hart-Johnson’s most recent book is “African American Women with Incarcerated Mates: The Psychological and Social Impacts of Mass Incarceration.” Dr. Hart-Johnson’s research in the United Kingdom has led to collaborations with other authors in the anthology “Contemporary Research and Analysis on the Children of Prisoners: ‘Contemporary Research and Analysis on the Children of Prisoners: Invisible Children’. Dr. Hart-Johnson is a university educator and doctoral mentor. Her passion and advocacy are apparent in her work and collaborative role as the Advocacy in Action Coalition Chairperson for the International Prisoner Family Conference, an organisation dedicated to ameliorating the adverse impacts of mass incarceration on family systems. Her most recent project is affectionately named The StoryBook Research Project where the team researched communication strategies between caregivers and their children about parental incarceration. The results were thematized into wonderfully illustrated storybooks about incarceration for children. See https://www.mystoryandme.com
Prof. Nancy Loucks OBE (INCCIP Chair) is the Chief Executive of Families Outside, a Scottish NGO that works on behalf of families affected by imprisonment, appointed in 2008. Prior to this she worked as an Independent Criminologist, specialising in comparative prison policy. She received her MPhil and PhD from the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge, and in 2012 was appointed as Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Law, Crime and Justice. Nancy was awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for services to Education and Human Rights. She co-chairs the Justice & Care work stream for the Scottish Independent Care Review and is Secretary General to the Board of Children of Prisoners Europe.
Park, Kyoung Hyeon is an auditor of Se-Um, a Korean children’s welfare NGO for the children with incarcerated parents. She is also a former teacher and a school social worker who actively works in education and school social work area. Se-Um started as the first professional children’s welfare NGO in Korea that works on the values and perspectives of children’s right in 2015. Se-um has a variety of programs and services including scholarship programs, crisis support, counselling services, youth club activities, care-giver support, visitation support, research, public relations and advocacy. It works in cooperation with governments and non-governmental agencies. Recently, Se-um conducted a pilot project to build a child-friendly family visiting room in a prison which was adopted by the Justice Ministry’s national policy.
Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, PhD (INCCIP Secretary) is the Dorothy A. O’Brien Professor of Human Ecology and a professor in the human development and family studies department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Healthy Minds and a licensed psychologist. Through numerous publications and outreach efforts during the past 20 years, she has brought the attention of child development and family studies communities to the issues of children with incarcerated parents and children raised by their grandparents. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Mind and Life Institute. Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan has served as an advisor to Sesame Street to help develop and evaluate their Emmy-nominated initiative for young children with incarcerated parents called Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration. She is working with the national organization Zero to Three on several outreach projects. She has published more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is the editor of two monographs, a book, and a handbook focusing on children with incarcerated parents, which is in its second edition.
Ben Raikes I consider I am well placed to contribute to INCCIP as a board member since I have 13 years experience working with families impacted by parental imprisonment, 4 years of which involved managing a parenting programme within a large women’s prison when I worked for an NGO, and 9 years researching the impact of imprisonment upon families as an academic. In my role as a researcher I have been involved in the large scale European Commission funded Children of Prisoners Interventions and Mitigations to Strengthen Mental Health (COPING) project. This project compared the experiences of children and parents (imprisoned and non imprisoned) in four European countries to explore what promoted resilience. In addition to this I have undertaken small-scale evaluations of an overnight stay facility in an open women’s prison and a pilot project examining the issues faced by grandparents caring for children with parents in prison across 4 countries. In my research I place a very high premium on listening carefully and directly to the lived experience of children and their carers who are impacted by incarceration. Therefore I consider I have a very good understanding of what the issues are, both in the UK where I am based, but also in countries such as Romania, Uganda, and Trinidad and Tobago with whom I have collaborated. It was while hosting Francis Ssuubi in the UK, who set up Wells of Hope in Uganda, that we came up with the idea of INCCIP, recognizing there was no organization linking those championing the rights of children with imprisoned parents outside Europe. Myself, Francis, Liz Gordon, Nancy Loucks and others launched INCCIP at the 2015 Prisoners’ Families conference. Therefore, having been involved in developing INCCIP right from the start I consider I am well placed to be part of the team that steers it into a successful future to realise its potential to campaign at the United Nations and in other influencial forums to improve the situation of children with incarcerated parents worldwide.
Jessica Reid. After being separated from her father for 24 years and witnessing the devastating effects of parental incarceration as an educator, Jessica Reid co-founded Kids with Incarcerated Parents (KIP) Canada, formally known as Fostering, Empowering and Advocating Together (FEAT) for Children of Incarcerated Parents. Currently, KIP Canada is the only organisation developed to provide supportive programming and services for children with incarcerated parents in Canada. In her role as the Director of Programming and Research, Jessica has developed six programmes to support the underserved needs of children, youth, and families. As an advocate and educator, Jessica professionally speaks at universities, community events, and conferences to provide education on the needs and supportive practices for children with incarcerated parents. Furthermore, Jessica organises campaigns to raise awareness on the need to support children affected by parental incarceration. In conjunction with developing and facilitating supportive programming, Jessica is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Guelph where she is extending research on ambiguous loss and resilience in children with incarcerated parents. Jessica is a proud member of INCCIP and the Canadian Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents and looks forward to working together to make a difference for the children left behind worldwide.
Koen Sevenants, Belgian (Ph.D.) is a child and adolescent psychologist with 25 years of experience of working with children of incarcerated parents. He has worked among others in China, Cambodia, Russia, Ukraine, DPRK, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Ecuador, Belgium and Spain. He is currently leading the global Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) response for children in emergencies for the UN. Koen is also the founder of Morning Tears, a charity organisation assisting children of imprisoned parents. Koen is fluent in 6 languages and has won various national and international awards. He loves cooking. Koen has two wonderful daughters.
Francis Ssuubi (INCCIP Ambassador) is the Founder of Wells of Hope, a comprehensive organisation that provides effective and compassionate programs for prisoners and their families in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania with great attention being given to children with parents on death row (see www.wellsofhope.org. As Global Ambassador of INCCIP, he makes a concerted effort to strengthen global relationships of devoted organisations, institutions, individuals, and students working on issues relating to children with incarcerated parents. Since 2004, Francis has been working to create and carry out positive interventions for Children with parents in prison so that they can enjoy their human rights.He believes that, since issues affecting children with parents in prison are transnational, there is a need for stakeholders world over to work together to tackle this issue. In May 2015, Francis helped to found the International Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents in Dallas, Texas, together with world class practitioners, academics, and human rights activists. Francis has attended and spoken at several High Level eventsand was a panelist at the the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, discussing the human rights of children of parents on death row or executed and is a thought leader on the subject of children with Incarcerated parents.
Blake Tijerina was born in Logan, Utah but was raised in Northwest Ohio. At the age of four his Father went to prison. His Father was sentenced to 15 – 25 years. During his Fathers first 11 years in prison Blake grew up very poor and sickly with severe asthma spending weeks at a time not being able to go outside. Blake’s Father came home for what he thought was for good when he was 14. But just 6 months later was told to return to prison. Blake now the age of 15 had to re-witness his Father going back inside. Having grown up in the prison visiting room and through letters and phone calls, Blake knows first hand the challenges that children of incarcerated parents go through on a daily basis. In 2012, Blake started working at The RIDGE Project with his Family. The RIDGE Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping inmates and their families. He is the media manager.
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