Community Family Life Services Launches ‘Starter Kit’ Initiative For Formerly Incarcerated Women in the District of Columbia

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This new women’s reentry initiative provides women returning home from DOC or BOP a 'Starter Kit' containing the essential tools needed to thrive.

Today, Community Family Life Services officially launched a new women’s reentry initiative. We are working closely with our partners, the DC Department of Corrections READY Center, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, DC Reentry Action Network, Fairview Halfway House, Federal Bureau of Prisons, House of Ruth, Jubilee Housing, and Thrive DC to provide women returning home from DOC or BOP a Starter Kit containing the essential tools needed to thrive.

“The most critical time of a woman’s reentry are the days immediately following her release,” said Ashley McSwain, Executive Director, Community Family Life Services. “Often women who do not have stable housing or a supportive network upon their release, return to tenuous situations that lead back to abuse or cause recidivism. CFLS’s goal is to equip women with the necessary tools to ensure she has a successful start.”

“I am extremely excited to partner with Community Family Life Services in their ‘Starter Kit’ Initiative,” said Shari L. McCoy, Director of the Fairview Women’s Reentry Center. “I congratulate CFLS for having the foresight in understanding the need for the services they will provide with this project, as well as the tools and tangible items the consumers will receive, especially during this pandemic. I look forward to working closely with CFLS as we foster reentry services, prosocial behavior and lifestyle changes.”

The Starter Kit includes items such as a laptop computer/tablet, or kindle, prepaid mobile telephone, transportation stipend, hygiene items, Personal Protective Equipment (mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.), access to business attire, and informational flyers. The Starter Kit also offers customization so women can remove specific barriers to her own circumstances.

“CFLS specializes in providing gender-responsive services to assist women in overcoming the unique challenges of transitioning home after a period of incarceration,” McSwain said. “While in person programming has been restricted due to the pandemic, we are thrilled to have strong partnerships allowing us the ability to provide our services virtually. The Starter Kit initiative is an invaluable complement to our existing reentry programming.”

To learn more about the Starter Kit initiative, please call 202-347-0511 or email

Since 1969, Community Family Life Services has provided children, families, and adults with the tools and resources needed to move beyond poverty and homelessness. CFLS supports women who are returning home following a period of incarceration by assisting them as they move into permanent self-sufficiency. To learn more about CFLS, please visit

The Resources to Empower and Develop You (READY) Center is a consolidated location where formerly incarcerated District of Columbia residents can access services from Community Based Organizations (CBO), the Department of Corrections (DOC), Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Employment Services (DOES), Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), and The Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA), to ensure successful reintegration into the community. To learn more about READY Center, please visit

Effectively supervise adults under our jurisdiction to enhance public safety, reduce recidivism, support the fair administration of justice, and promote accountability, inclusion and success through the implementation of evidence-based practices in close collaboration with our criminal justice partners and the community. To learn more about CSOSA, please visit

RAN is a coalition of nonprofit organizations that provide direct reentry services to justice involved DC residents. RAN gives its members a platform to exchange information, address issues of mutual concern, strengthen services, and act as a collective voice to best meet the complex and varied needs of incarcerated and returning citizens in the District. To learn more about RAN, please visit

The DC Department of Corrections contracts with community release programs who operate facilities known as community correctional centers or halfway houses. The US District Court for DC and the Superior Court of DC place pretrial offenders and sentenced misdemeanants in halfway houses as an alternative to incarceration. The halfway houses offer a variety of educational opportunities and other programming services. To learn more about Fairview Halfway House, please visit

We protect public safety by ensuring that federal offenders serve their sentences of imprisonment in facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure, and provide reentry programming to ensure their successful return to the community. To learn more about BOP, please visit

Founded in 1976, House of Ruth empowers women, children and families to rebuild their lives and heal from trauma, abuse and homelessness. House of Ruth offers comprehensive support for women, children and families. Our continuum of services encompasses enriched housing for families and single women, trauma-informed daycare for children, and free counseling to empower anyone, regardless of gender, who is a survivor of trauma and abuse. Our programs provide individualized support to rebuild safe, independent, and sustainable lives. To learn more about House of Ruth, please visit

Jubilee Housing’s mission is to build diverse, compassionate communities that create opportunities for everyone to thrive. We envision a city and a world where access to basic resources and opportunities are available to all people and where people live out these opportunities in the context of supportive community. To learn more about Jubilee Housing, please visit

Thrive DC works to prevent and end homelessness in Washington, DC by providing vulnerable people with a wide range of services to help stabilize their lives. Founded in 1979 to serve dinner to homeless women, Thrive DC has grown to be a comprehensive, professionally staffed, bilingual organization serving more than 2,000 men, women, and children each year. To learn more about Thrive DC, please visit

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Ashley McSwain
since: 04/2010
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