July 20, 2012 Children of Incarcerated Parents Awareness Conference

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Wednesday - April 11, 2012.

Laura Kaeppeler, reigning Miss America 2012, understands the importance of helping children of incarcerated parents because her father served time in prison during her teen years.

Now as Miss America, her platform comes from her personal experience. Ms. Kaeppeler's vision is to help children build stronger relationships with their parents through mentoring programs established for children who have a parent in prison.

And she is coming to Lancaster to share her message, when she will be the Keynote Speaker at Lancaster's 2012 Children of Incarcerated Parents Awareness Conference, sponsored by KON-NECTINGSERVICES, INC. and co-sponsored by Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

MENTORING: “Faith in Action”

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Tuesday - March 27, 2012.

Why Community Outreach Is Vital
  • About 450 offenders are released every month from Lancaster County Prison and return to our local communities.  In addition, roughly 500 formerly incarcerated persons come back annually to Lancaster County from state prisons.
  • Mentoring is an integral part of beginning better lives.   Mentors give guidance and demonstrate healthy, trusting relationships in the quest to help offenders navigate the many challenges and opportunities they will face.
  • The Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization is partnering with Justice & Mercy and Highland Presbyterian Church to offer a new mentoring program, which has been established to facilitate offenders' readjustment to society.

You can demonstrate your own "Faith in Action" by becoming a Community Mentor.

Faith Leaders Embrace Healing Communities Model

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Thursday - March 15, 2012.

Alfreda Robinson-Dawkins of the National Women's Prison Project leads Lancaster County church representatives at Healing Communities trainingLancaster: Twenty-one clergy and lay leaders from eleven different Lancaster County congregations gathered on Saturday, March 10, 2012 for the first "Healing Communities" training in Lancaster County.

Healing Communities is a national, proven model for engaging congregations in the restoration and healing of individuals and families torn apart by crime - whether committed against a member of the congregation or committed by a member of the congregation.

The participants at Saturday's training came from Lancaster County congregations that span the theological spectrum. They came from racially and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. Some of the churches they represented are very large, some very small, some from the city, others from the county.  But they all had several important things in common.

Employment and Recidivism

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Saturday - March 03, 2012.

Lancaster:  With so many people currently unemployed and looking for work, why help people coming out of prison to get a job?

There's evidence that doing so can:

  • Reduce crime rates
  • Rreduce homelessness
  • Reduce parole violations
  • Reduce recidivism

Helping people coming out of prison and back into the Lancaster County community to find employment is one essential part of the RMO program. The Lancaster RMO's Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS*) team will be offering a training for professionals in social services and corrections who work with clients with criminal records. Here are the details:

Children of Incarcerated Parents Network in Lancaster

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Wednesday - February 29, 2012.

children-iStockLancaster: Recently, a broad-based coalition of organizations joined together to offer programs for children whose parents are incarcerated. The mission of the Children of Incarcerated Parents (COIP) group is to "strengthen the family bonds and developmental assets of children of incarcerated parents and their families". For additional information, call 717-872-7794 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Provide support to the child and their caregiver from the moment of arrest;
  • Refer the family to one of the many local agencies who work with families;
  • Work with schools in helping the child cope with this event in their young lives;
  • Advocate for appropriate visitation facilities and policies for children to have physical contact with their incarcerated parent;
  • Provide support to the child's caregiver.

Members of the coalition include:

Lancaster County Children and Youth, Boys and Girls Club, COBYS Family Services, Restorative Justice,
Kon-nectingservice, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Crispus Attucks Community, Justice and Mercy, Lancaster County Council of Churches, Compass Mark, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Bridge of Hope, Domestic Violence Services, Mental Health America, School District of Lancaster, Tabor Community Services, MidPenn Legal Service, and LINC.