Reuniting children and incarcerated dads

Program helps children reunite with incarcerated dads

Posted: Jan 03, 2014 3:04 PM PSTUpdated: Jan 03, 2014 3:34 PM PST

Dozens of kids traveled from Miami to Punta Gorda to reunite with their dads who have been in prison for years.

It’s part of the largest program of its kind in the country aimed at building relationships and installing core family values between incarcerated men and their families when they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to.

It’s anxious anticipation at its best – months, sometimes years of waiting to see their own children.

“My son and two daughters, I really can’t wait to see them,” said Effiney Harris, who has been imprisoned at the Charlotte Correctional Institution for nearly a decade. “What can I say? I can’t even express it.”

But what Harris can’t express, you could see on his face. He was the last one to sit and wait for his kids to walk through the prison doors.

“I try to tell my kids, do not do the things that I did,” he said. “Do not make the mistakes that I made.”

Directors from the Service Network for Children Inmates, Department of Corrections and the Children’s Trust recreated Christmas dinner for these families today while guards stood by quietly watching the same families arrive yet again.

The program is only six years old, but they’ve performed over 200 visits. Now, they’re finally starting to see the reward, especially when they see the same faces coming back every three months.

“Working with the kids and their families consistently, it is giving the kids a base to work from,” said program director Shellie Solomon.

Perhaps the hardest thing is to let go again. After only a few hours of holding his kids in his arms, it’ll be months before Harris can do so again.

“Kingdom don’t come, man. So you just gotta depend on God, you know what I’m saying? Straight up.”

One Response to “Reuniting children and incarcerated dads”

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