Pittsburgh foundation gains new awareness for children of inmates
When Ronnell Anderson's father was arrested and incarcerated more than a decade ago, little was in place in Allegheny County to help children of inmates deal with the loss of a parent.
“We don't fall into the same category as our parents,” Anderson, 20, of Homewood said on Thursday during a news conference for the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation. “We don't blame the parents, but we don't want people to stigmatize us for their decisions.”
Anderson made the remarks during the foundation's release of a report that said its push has been successful during the past 10 years to help the children of prisoners and that the foundation will focus its efforts on a new project to benefit children next year.
“We are ending our initiative, and we're going to define a new focus for the foundation,” executive director Claire Walker said. “Ten years ago, this was an invisible population. Now children and families are talked about; programs have been developed — re-entry programs, coached visits — there's an awareness to the issue.”
Walker said her organization has helped to facilitate protocols when police arrest parents with children younger than 18, develop communication resources between incarcerated parents and their children, re-entry programs at the jail to help families, a discharge center to assist parents in getting home upon release, and a renovated jail lobby to provide a welcoming waiting room for children.
County leaders said keeping families together through incarceration helps reduce recidivism.
“If we don't do these things, they end up going right back in,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.