Pathfinders of Oregon Receives $1.3 Million in Federal Grants for Reentry Programs

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Funding Will Improve Reentry Services for Parents Returning to Multnomah County

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"The big winners in this will be the children, who through no fault of their own, endure a loss of a parent in their lives.”

Pathfinders of Oregon is thrilled to announce the recent award of two federal grants under the Second Chance Act Grant program. Totaling $1.3 million, the grants will fund the development and implementation of two pre- and post-release intervention programs over the next three years, and will serve over 200 incarcerated parents returning to Multnomah County. New funding comes in addition to a current $420,000 federal grant that supports 60 young fathers through the Successful Fathers, Successful Families reentry mentoring project. Through comprehensive support services that include case management, peer mentoring, gender-responsive trauma intervention and parenting classes, Pathfinders’ existing and new programming will work collaboratively across systems to address the significant barriers parents face in returning to the community and successfully reintegrating with their families.

The Holistically Responsive Reentry Program will serve over 150 men and women of all ages, and includes pre-release trauma intervention. The Strong Together: Young Moms & Their Kids project will specifically address the needs of at least 45 young mothers under age 25. Both programs are designed to support releasing individuals at each stage of reentry, and to address their unique needs in a way that prevents further traumatic exposure as they become positive, pro-social community members. Peer mentoring and case management services will prepare participants for release and help them to acquire the skills and access the resources they need to successfully transition back into the community.

“With this significant multiyear funding from the Federal Department of Justice, we will be able to expand our innovative, best-practice and evidence-based interventions for individuals and families impacted by the criminal justice system,” said Joseph Tietz, PhD, Executive Director of Pathfinders of Oregon. “It is rare for a single local non-profit to receive three federal grants in one period. This funding speaks to our commitment to high-quality, impactful, trauma-informed programming, to our strong collaboration with the Oregon Department of Corrections and Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, and to our extremely dedicated and talented staff.”

A unique feature of the Holistically Responsive Reentry Program is the inclusion of a pre-release cognitive-behavioral trauma intervention program to help individuals understand the impact of the trauma they have experienced, and develop coping and calming skills. Providing parents with these skills prepares them to participate more fully in post-release interventions and reduces the likelihood of recidivism. Research has shown that unaddressed trauma, such as poverty, emotional and physical abuse, an unstable living environment, substance abuse, mental health issues, and unstable family relationships, can undermine the effectiveness of programs intended to reduce criminogenic behaviors.

"The big winners in this will be the children, who through no fault of their own, endure a loss of a parent in their lives,” said Truls Neal, Deputy Director of the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice. “We are looking forward to working with Pathfinders as they address this critical transition need of parents returning from prison.”

Post-release services will include ongoing peer mentoring and case management using the EPICS-I model, collaboration with Parole and Probation Officers and other service providers, advocacy and referral. Parents also will participate in Pathfinders’ evidence-based Parenting Inside Out program. Participants will have access to the resources available at the Center for Family Success, such as childcare during parenting classes, meals and snacks for parents and children, and referral to other agencies and resources. Center services intentionally focus on parenting and family, an area individuals value and are intrinsically motivated to engage in.

“Oregon Department of Corrections and Pathfinders of Oregon have long been on the forefront of helping families stay connected during a parent’s incarceration. These two grants will provide coordinated services, starting during incarceration and continuing after release, to support successful reentry and family reunification. We are excited that the programs developed with these grants will not only serve Oregonians, but also will provide a model for other states,” said Collette Peters, Director of Oregon Department of Corrections.

The new programs will establish an infrastructure that provides stability for parents as they navigate across systems and face challenging barriers to reentry. If found to be effective, the proposed intervention is designed to be easily and broadly replicable both by Pathfinders and other organizations across the country, further advancing the state of Oregon as a national leader in reentry service improvement and criminal justice reform.

For more information, please visit http://www.pathfindersoforegon.org.

Pathfinders of Oregon is a 501 (c) (3) social service agency founded in 1993 with a mission to provide justice impacted individuals and families the tools and support they need to be part of safe and thriving communities. Pathfinders of Oregon provides cognitive-behavioral programs, parenting programs, education and support services for pro-social living to adults in the Oregon prison system and to children and families in the community.

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Mindy Clark

Rachel Namson