New Zealand Conference
The Connecticut Children with Incarcerated Parents (CIP) Initiative at Central Connecticut State University’s Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy recently presented at the inaugural conference of the International Coalition for the Children of Incarcerated Parents in Auckland, New Zealand from March 20-23rd, 2017. The conference was attended by experts in the field of parental incarceration from nearly every continent. Sessions at the conference explored several themes, including research, advocacy, support, and the experience of children and families of prisoners.
The CIP Initiative’s joint proposal stated, “…working in partnership with faculty and providing students with learning opportunities are deeply embedded in our mission. The research and innovation our initiative exhibits, from websites to longitudinal studies, are bolstered by collaboration and partnership with University members.”
Program Manager, Aileen Keays Yeager and CIP Program Administrator, Hannah Hurwitz offered background on the CIP Initiative, discussed the initiative’s community engagement efforts, and lead participants in workshop-style exercises. Communication Professor, Rati Kumar, discussed the Youth Voice Project, which is focused on creating a media and awareness campaign to combat the stigma and mental/physical health issues associated with being the child of an incarcerated parent. This process is designed to be highly interactive, giving both CCSU students and the children in the community an opportunity to interact through focus groups for data gathering, production sessions with children and students, as well as college athlete interactions with the children involved. We also screened a new video produced by CIP about the role of community engagement in the initiative’s work. CCSU students, faculty, and university President Zulma Toro appear in the video.
A Shared Sentence: Incarceration of Caregivers and its Impact on Connecticut’s Children
On May 26, 2016, the CTCIP Initiative and CT Association for Human Services hosted A Shared Sentence: Incarceration of Caregivers and its Impact on Connecticut’s Children at the Connecticut State Capitol building. During the event, presentations were provided by:
- Scott Spencer, Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), who presented findings from the recently released AECF report A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities
- Aileen Keays Yeager, Institute for Municipal & Regional Policy (IMRP), who presented findings from a recent study Needs Created in Children’s Daily Lives by the Arrest of a Caregiver: Findings from the CCSU-IMRP New Britain
- Erica Dean, CT Association for Human Services, A Shared Sentence: Incarceration of Caregivers and its Impact on Connecticut’s Children (intended presentation but time did not permit its inclusion)
The event also featured a panel discussion with wonderful participants including:
- Nishka, CCSU student and former child with an incarcerated parent
- Joyce Betts, Executive Director, Families in Crisis
- Scott Semple, Commissioner, Department of Correction
- Scot Spencer, Associate Director of Advocacy & Influence, Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Douglas McCrory, State Representative for Hartford’s 7th District, and school administrator at Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) in Hartford
- Elizabeth Duryea, Chief of Staff, Department of Children and Families
To watch the full event on CT-N, please click here.
To listen to a brief radio interview with the event’s hosts, Aileen Keays Yeager and Erica Dean, click here.
To listen to several event participants on WNPR’s Where we Live, click here.
InterNational Prisoner’s Family Conference
May 4-5, 2016, the Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative attended the InterNational Prisoner’s Family Conference in Dallas, Texas alongside prison advocates from the United Kingdom, Uganda, New Zealand, and more. Presentation topics included mass incarceration, re-entry, and family healing during incarceration. CIP Initiative Project Manager, Aileen Keays Yeager, spoke at two evening sessions: one focusing on student engagement and advocacy with Howard University Professor, Bahiyyah Muhammad, and the other strategizing international collaboration on behalf of children with incarcerated parents worldwide.
The conference also provided a meeting opportunity for the International Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents (INCCIP), of which the CIP Initiative is a member. During that meeting, the CIP Initiative launched a new website for INCCIP designed by senior CCSU Management Information Systems student, Artur Czachor. The project emerged from the Project Management for Business class with Dr. Olga Petkova in fall 2015, where Czachor’s website design was chosen among the work of his other classmates to be further developed and implemented. Ben Raikes, researcher at the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom and one of the coordinators of the INCCIP, believes this website is a step toward championing the rights of children with incarcerated parents “on the world stage.” His “…hope is that all organizations across the world working for children with parents in prison hear about and join INCCIP through its website. I anticipate INCCIP giving evidence to organizations such as UNICEF and the UN on the impact of imprisonment upon families and children.”