In the spirit of our founder Fay Honey Knopp, who always tackled tough challenges head on, we’ve established a unique mentoring program for this challenging population.
Launched in Vermont in the summer of 2017, the ChIPs program goes beyond traditional mentoring practices in the following ways:
>Targeted mentor recruitment. Traditional programs seek volunteers for a 1- or 2-year commitment through advertising and word of mouth; the ChIPs program proactively recruits experienced school counselors, nurses, teachers, & social workers and requires a minimum 5-year commitment.
>Strong support staff. Traditional mentoring program staff consists of a lone program director; ChIPs mentors are supported by a clinical director, program director, and case manager.
>Child’s right to a relationship with the incarcerated parents. Adhering to the principles of the ChIPs Bill of Rights, the ChIPs program actively supports child/incarcerated parent relationships through prison visitation, correspondence, and communication.
>Circles of Support. A circle of supporting adults formed around each mentor-child pair may include the child’s custodial parent or legal guardian, an “on-call” extended family member, friend, or neighbor, the child’s school counselor, the incarcerated parent’s probation or parole officer, and a family therapist or other mental health professional. These circles are formed to help remedy two key problems faced by all mentoring programs:
– The high rate of premature mentor dropouts due to frustration and burnout resulting from the child’s dysfunctional living situation.
– At-risk children’s lack of connection with their communities.
Chad Butt from Mobius Mentors was recently on WCAX TV talking about mentoring programs. He mentioned Safer Society’s ChIPs Mentoring & Circles of Support program. Watch it here:
If you are interested in staying informed about the ChIPs Mentoring and Circles of Support Program and if you are considering becoming a mentor, please fill out this form: