Extended Family is privileged to have the opportunity to provide programs and services for families of the incarcerated and to uphold one of our most cherished values, “Our Purpose is the purpose,” which simply means that everything we do involves teaching families of prisoners and returning citizens to successfully adjust to a new way of life. We show this value by providing educational programming, conducting and sharing research, and reporting on best practices for living a healthy lifestyle throughout the prison and re-entry experience for each member of the family.
Kids Count 2021 reported 85,611 children in Alabama and 211,004 children in Georgia who had a parent who was ever incarcerated (https://datacenter.kidscount.org). The effects of incarceration on the family are staggering – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Families dealing with these effects struggle with poverty, food insecurity, and sometimes homelessness. Mentally, children can experience “Spoiled Identity,” a term coined by Kate Luther in her 2016 Journal Article “Stigma Management among Children of Incarcerated Parents,” which she uses to describe how children of the incarcerated often see themselves. And, sometimes, most devastating is the uncanny ability for children of the incarcerated to blame themselves. Our most popular program, Extended Family for Kids (EFK), addresses all of these concerns with practical lessons in a 9-lesson, solutions-based curriculum. Through the interactive lessons, children learn how to make healthy life-style choices so they can improve their quality of life emotionally, mentally, and physically. EFK Lessons build self-esteem, ease feelings of shame, ease isolation, decrease stress, address anger issues, and strengthen communication skills.
More than 400 students experienced Extended Family for Kids during the 2022-2023 school year through programs offered by Extended Family staff and volunteers. We offered EFK Program Leader training to more than 100 participants who can now take EFK back to their communities and reach many more children in this underserved segment of our society.
Ultimately, the goal of our Extended Family values is to help families of prisoners and their children lead healthy and successful lives on the outside while their loved ones are incarcerated. We know the impact of “not doing their time.” When individuals make good choices, even while coping with family incarceration, they can break the generational cycle of incarceration some families experience.
Learn more about Extended Family and our programs on Facebook or on our website at www.extendedfamilyhelp.org.