The Abe Brown Ministries Family Reunification program evolved from the collaborative Children in Hillsborough of Incarcerated Parents (CHIPS), which works to connect resources and systems of support to meet the unique needs of children, ages birth to 14 years old, of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated parents with the hopes of eliminating generational incarceration.
The Family Reunification program is generously funded and supported by the Children's Board of Hillsborough County.
SCOPE OF SERVICES
- Children/Caregivers must live in Hillsborough County.
- Children must be from birth to 14 years old.
- Parents must be incarcerated in Lowell Annex, Florida Women’s Reception Center, Polk Correctional Institution, Sumter Correctional Institution, or Hernando Correctional Institution.
- Parents must still have parental rights.
- Children must not be the victim of the incarcerated parent's crime.
Every Monday at Abe Brown Ministries (ABM), children are able to speak with their parent live via video conferencing technology. The allotted time for the video visitation depends on how many families we are servicing. ABM staff contacts families the week before and sends the correctional officer the information on Friday. Staff then reaches out to families Monday to confirm and coordinate schedules.
The children and caregivers (optional participation) can take part in the video visitation at no cost. Caregivers will need to bring the children to ABM located at 2921 N. 29th Street in Tampa. As the service is available every Monday, the child has a number of opportunities for video visitation with their parent each month.
In addition to the video visitation, participants enrolled in the program have the opportunity to travel to the prisons once a quarter. Transportation and lunch are provided at no charge. The children and caregivers get the opportunity to physically interact with the incarcerated parent during the visit, which consists of games and activities. CLICK HERE to find out more about the "We Are Connected" exercise. These visits support and strengthen the bond between parent and child.
The Family Reunification program works in conjunction with Abe Brown Ministries' Ready4Work-Hillsborough program to provide clients with counseling, home visits, community resource referrals, and linkage to supportive services targeting caregivers and children to help strengthen the family dynamics throughout Hillsborough County.