A University of Missouri Extension program aimed at helping children with incarcerated parents received a grant to spread their efforts around the state and to four other states.
4 H LIFE is a program that aims to improve the relationship between children and their incarcerated parents. Lead Advisor Lynna Lawson says the program got nearly 280 thousand dollars to help spread their decade-old program. The program arranges visits between children and their incarcerated parents. During the visits there are educational activities, socializing and exercises to help increase communication between the parents and children.
About 80 thousand will stay in Missouri to strengthen programs here, while the other part will go toward starting programs in Alabama, New Hampshire, Washington D.C. and Louisiana.
The program operates out of four different correctional facilities, and there are about 175 participants in the program at any given time. Lawson says the programs are aimed at teaching the children of inmates how to not make the same choices their parents did. It also aims at improving communication between the parent and child, because about 96 percent of inmates will return home. She says having a strong relationship once the parent comes home makes a big difference in the family dynamic.