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.

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.

PA Report on Children of Incarcerated Parents

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Sunday - February 12, 2012.

Harrisburg, PA: House Resolution No. 203, Printer’s No. 1321, of 2009 was adopted on June 3, 2009, and Senate Resolution 52, Printer’s No. 708, of 2009 was adopted on June 8, 2009. The resolutions directed the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to study the effects of parental incarceration on children of incarceratedparentsreportpicthe incarcerated parents; to recommend a system for determining and assessing the needs of children of incarcerated parents, services available to them, and barriers to accessing those services; and to report recommendations to the House and the Senate. To download a copy of the report, click here.

A 38-member advisory committee was appointed over the course of several months. Ann Schwartzman, Director of Policy of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, served as the chair. The advisory committee includes staff from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of Corrections, the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, the Department of Aging, county government centers, police, and the Harrisburg School District. It also includes a judge, attorneys, college professors, representatives of various community-based and faith-based support services and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. The advisory committee held its organizational meeting on December 4, 2009 and met again on October 14, 2010 and January 16, 2011.

The House and Senate Resolutions reflect the growing awareness that children of incarcerated parents face unique obstacles unlike those of their peers. The first step in determining the needs of children of the incarcerated and designing effective interventions is to identify these children. Presently, no mechanism exists in Pennsylvania to collect and analyze data of this nature, thus the number and characteristics of these children cannot be ascertained.

Acknowledging the well-documented adverse effects of parental incarceration on children and its significant costs to communities, researchers identify two groups of recommendations that could help to solve or mitigate this problem.

New Miss America Speaks Out on Children of Incarcerated Parents

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Saturday - February 04, 2012.

From SentenceSpeak on January 17, 2012:World peace. Starving children. Curing disease. All noble, worthy, and traditional causes that many a Miss America has picked up and used her platform to champion. But to our knowledge (we confess that we are not devoted followers of the pageant), the new 2012 Miss America will be the first to champion the children of incarcerated parents -- mostly because she is one herself.

USAToday Reports

Laura Kaeppeler[Miss Wisconsin Laura] Kaeppeler, 23, has an unusual background. She says she thought long and hard as to whether she should make her father's jail time for mail fraud part of her pageant platform, reports AP. Her father, Jeff Kaeppeler, served 18 months in federal prison for mail fraud, a sentence he started when Laura was entering college. He was backstage Sunday night with his daughter, who called him her "best friend."

Kaeppeler's mission: She wants children of incarcerated adults to feel less alone, to have mentoring and as much of a relationship with their parents as possible.

She majored in music and vocal performance at a private Lutheran liberal arts college in Kenosha and initially said she wanted to become a speech therapist, but now Kaeppler plans to use her $50,000 scholarship money to become a lawyer, specializing in helping children of incarcerated adults.

Wahoo! We extend a warm, heartfelt welcome to Miss Kaeppeler and admire her for shining a spotlight (literally) on this important issue. The United States is the world's largest jailer, with 2.3 million in prison and an additional five on some form of court supervision. There are over 1.7 million children with incarcerated parents in our country. Draconian prison terms -- including mandatory minimum sentences -- perpetuate our addiction to incarceration when better, smarter, cheaper options exist (and would keep families together).

We applaud you, Miss America, and invite you to join us in our work for justice!  Visit Miss America's website, Circles of Support, for more information about her worthy cause.

From Arrest to Homecoming

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Sunday - October 17, 2010.

Washington:  In September, the National Reentry Resource Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice presented a webinar entitled "From Arrest to Homecoming: Addressing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents".  The webinar provided useful statistics as well as a review of tips and suggested models for keeping parents in touch with kids.  Considerable attention was given to special populations.  For a downloadable copy of the presentation in PowerPoint form, click here.