The Safer Society Foundation is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $4,000 grant from MENTOR Vermont (formerly known as Mobius, Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership), which will help continue to fund the Foundation’s New Circle Mentoring program (formerly Children of Incarcerated Parents [“ChIPs”] Mentoring & Circles of Support). New Circle Mentoring is part of the Safer Society Foundation’s mission to mitigate the impact of parental incarceration on children and families in Vermont.
According to a 2013 report by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice, children who have a parent in jail or prison fare even worse than other at-risk youth on a range of mental and physical health outcomes and educational achievement. When combined with other sources of risk and adversity, parental incarceration increases the likelihood that a child will act out antisocially and engage in delinquent behavior, leading to an increased probability of that child’s being incarcerated as an adult.
Central Vermont’s need for a program such as New Circle – which combines a mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents with a comprehensive all-around support system – is undeniable. Underscoring this need is the fact that, every year, about 6,000 Vermont children have at least one parent in jail or prison.
“Our research on the effectiveness of conventional mentoring programs in Vermont shows that they do not provide the long-term commitment and wraparound services these at-risk youngsters need,” says Mary Falcon, Safer Society’s Executive Director. “We believe that children of incarcerated parents need long-term, dependable support – not just one-on-one but many-on-one – to help build the skills and community connections required for them to reach adulthood as productive citizens of their communities rather than as burdens and liabilities.”
Through the Vermont Mentoring Grants, MENTOR Vermont provides opportunities for Vermont schools and non-profit organizations to help make a difference for youth in their communities. The Safer Society Foundation thanks MENTOR Vermont for its confidence that the New Circle Mentoring program can make that difference.