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.

About the Author

Melanie G. Snyder

Melanie G. Snyder

Melanie G. Snyder serves as the Executive Director of the Lancaster County Reentry Management Organization (RMO). She was a featured TEDx speaker at the first-ever TEDx event in Lancaster.  http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Breaking-out-of-prison-thinking 

She is an NIC-certified Offender Workforce Development Specialist, a certified Global Career Development Facilitator, and a certified instructor for the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Healing Communities model. She is also a trained restorative justice mediator.

Prior to Melanie's involvement with the RMO, she spent several years researching and writing the book Grace Goes to Prison: An Inspiring Story of Hope and Humanity (Brethren Press, 2009), which tells the true story of a woman who volunteered in Pennsylvania's state prisons for over 30 years, creating inmate education and reentry programs based on principles of restorative justice. After Grace Goes to Prison was published, Melanie traveled throughout the United States, doing speaking engagements and meeting with other reentry and restorative justice professionals to discuss criminal justice issues and exchange information and ideas.