What Happens After Incarceration?
Just as every mother’s path to Jonah’s Journey is different, so is her path when her incarceration ends. Many women leave incarceration with nothing at all – no clothes, home, money, job, or support system. With help from Jonah’s Journey, she will have her most basic needs met, love and support from a team, and a plan for her next steps. Caring for children of women who are incarcerated and restoring a healthy relationship between the child and mother is the core mission at Jonah’s Journey.
Jonah’s Journey caregivers begin preparing for reunification as soon as the child is placed in their care. They talk to the mothers of the children in their care about plans after release and what resources she will need. They often assist her in applying for transitional housing and discussing job opportunities.
Mothers with access to resources and support systems outside of the program often reunite with their children immediately upon release from prison. Many of the mothers served are incarcerated outside of their home community. They place their child with Jonah’s Journey to increase their ability to see and bond with their child during incarceration through regular visits. If they return to their home community after incarceration and are supported, they will often reunite immediately after release.
Other mothers may enter a transitional program that may or may not allow her to bring her children. The children of these mothers can often continue to live with their Jonah’s Journey caregiver until the mother completes the program and is ready to live independently with her child.
While some mothers are ready to reunite immediately after release, others prefer to have secured a job and have help with childcare before reunification. Jonah’s Journey caregivers encourage each mother to choose a process and timeframe that allows for a healthy reunification for both mother and child.
Adjusting to life outside of prison requires time and support, especially if a woman has been incarcerated for several years. Even after children are reunified with their mothers, Jonah’s Journey caregivers often remain a part of their lives. Some mothers may never need Jonah’s Journey assistance again, while other mothers call on their Jonah’s Journey family for support off and on for many years.
The commitment our caregivers make to both mother and child is intended to be available for as long as it is needed.
Continued support and encouragement from a stable community often -makes the difference between women who rebuild their lives and those who find themselves incarcerated again. Jonah’s Journey wants to give the children in its care the best start possible to their lives, and to give mothers the support they need for a successful restart. To make this kind of an impact, Jonah’s Journey needs additional caregivers willing to bring an infant into their home and offer encouragement to the child’s mother. If you are interested in answering the call to become a Jonah’s Journey caregiver, request more information here.