Training, Consulting & Technical Assistance

The Foreverfamily Model: Surrounding Children with the Love of Family

How do we achieve remarkable results? On one level, it is very simple: we surround all our children with family love. But to realize this seemingly simple goal has taken hard work. Over the last three decades, we have built a sophisticated, tested, and robust programmatic model that has proven to significantly reduce the impact of parental incarceration on children.

The core of our model rests on our core belief that, even in incarceration, family bonds must be safeguarded for the good of the child, the parent, the family, and the community. In the past, maintaining a loving relationship between an inmate and his/her children has been seen as a privilege. Not only does Foreverfamily insist that it is a right, but we also insist that it is the right thing to do.

Having pioneered a solution to this growing national issue, Foreverfamily is now looking to share what we have learned with others throughout the country who wish to work on behalf of incarcerated families.

One of the key resources Foreverfamily offers the community is intensive training geared to develop, strengthen, and enhance efforts to meet children’s unique needs with incarcerated parents. The training parameters are:

  • STRATEGY: instructor-led, using, where appropriate, those directly affected by the issue.
  • DESIGN: training modules, each module being used as a stand-alone piece or in conjunction with other modules.
  • TOPICS (see attached module description)
  • TARGET AUDIENCE: supervisors and front line staff of child welfare, corrections, juvenile justice, probation and parole, criminal justice and human service agencies, teachers, clergy, family members, and others working with incarcerated parents and/or their children.
  • MATERIALS: training manual provided.

About the Trainer

Sandra Barnhill

Sandra Barnhill, JD Founder and National President

Sandra Barnhill, JD Founder, and National President

Sandra Kay Barnhill, an attorney, is the founder and National President of Foreverfamily, a nonprofit agency created in 1987 to diminish the impact of the parent’s incarceration on the children. Foreverfamily is headquartered in Atlanta with affiliates in Atlanta and Louisville, KY.

Sandra’s pioneering work in this area has been recognized by the Ms. Foundation who awarded her their Woman of Vision Award, Barrister Magazine which heralded her as “One of Twenty Lawyers Who Make a Difference,” Savvy Magazine which selected her as “One of Forty Women Under Forty to Watch” and the Atlanta Business League which recognized her as one of Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence. She was a 2004 recipient of the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award and a 1997 Annie E. Casey Children and Family Fellowship.

Sandra is a member of the ABA Commission on Youth At Risk and is a consultant for the National Institute of Corrections and a frequent workshop and conference presenter.

Foreverfamily Affiliates: A Model for Supporting Children With Incarcerated Parents in Your Community

Based on our success and national reputation in providing targeted services to this special population, foundations like the Annie E. Casey Foundation—along with several churches, faith-based organizations, local nonprofits and community residents— Foreverfamily opened its first affiliate outside Georgia in Louisville, Kentucky in 2008 and plans to take its programming model to other cities across the nation, including Austin and San Antonio, TX.

Drawing upon our three decades of experience, Foreverfamily is approaching these communities using a phased approach. For each phase, we provide a toolkit to guide the newly-forming program’s leaders through key processes such as securing funds, cultivating and sustaining the coalition, community needs assessment, and organizational design. We also provide direct support through onsite training and workshops, as well as ongoing remote technical assistance.

4 Package Series can be purchased as stand-alone modules or as a group package. The packages listed below do not include the following expenses: travel, hotel, and/or meals. A discount is given when the modules are purchased as a group.

Phase 1: Exploration. Foreverfamily meets with community leaders to discuss their needs and organize a step-by-step process to create a child-centered response. This phase includes two days onsite.

Phase 1 Cost: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Phase 2: Coalition building. Foreverfamily and interested parties carry out workshops focused on the theme of sustainable, child-centered support. As we assess the potential for an emergent coalition, we discuss how to begin this work and secure initial funding.

This phase includes four days onsite.

Phase 2 Costs: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Phase 3: Community organizing. Foreverfamily helps local leaders as they create a network of support within their communities. With this in place, we help local leaders shape the program according to the community’s needs.

This phase includes five days onsite.

Phase 2 Costs: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Phase 4: Program launch. Forever Family provides technical assistance and ongoing support for interested local individuals and organizations to establish these services—either within an existing organization or as a new, independent program. Organizations can decide to become an affiliate of Foreverfamily or pick and choose the technical assistance and resources they need to supplement their own work.

This phase includes six days onsite.

Phase 4 Costs: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Foreverfamily Mentoring Series

Mentoring Children with an Incarcerated Parent

Foreverfamily is the only national nonprofit with affiliates in two states whose sole mission is to provide programs and services to inspire children with parents in prison to become successful adults – and reduce the chance that they will turn to crime. Over its 33 years of existence, Ff has traditionally used group, team, and peer mentoring as its service vehicle. However, we support one-on-one or individual mentoring as a viable option. Our limited resources have precluded us from taking on this as a key component of our direct service delivery.

Federal Mentoring Children of Prisoners Grants

Since its first funding cycle, Foreverfamily has been involved with the Mentoring Children of Prisoners grant program. Our work has ranged from doing workshops at the annual conference to working with nonprofits that received grants. Our work with them has included: (1) program assessment (2) staff training and (3) strategies identification to increase the number of program participants and strengthen the relationship with caregivers and family members. Listed below is more information on the packages we offer and the costs associated with them.

4 Package Series can be purchased as stand-alone modules or as a group package. The packages listed below do not include the following expenses: travel, hotel, and/or meals. A discount is given when the modules are purchased as a group.

Module 1: More Parents in Prison: More Children Adrift

This module presents national, state, and local statistics on incarcerated parents developing a demographic profile of prisoners’ families. It identifies service needs of caregivers, who most often are maternal grandmothers. Additionally, this module highlights trends and approaches other child welfare professionals around the country are utilizing when working with children of incarcerated parents.

 Module 1 cost: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Module 2: Children with Incarcerated Parents: The Effects of Parental Incarceration

Children who experience parental crime, arrest, and incarceration are profoundly affected physically, mentally, and emotionally. This module first examines the implications that parental crime has for a child’s care and placement. It then focuses on parental incarceration’s emotional impact – how children feel and behave when their parents are in prison.

Module 2 cost: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Module 3: Staff Development: Understanding and Overcoming Issues Which Complicate Direct Services for Children with Incarcerated Parents

Children with incarcerated parents face many challenges. In order to support them, service providers must be aware of family dynamics, placement and trust. Foreverfamily’s social worker and therapist are key participants in this session

Module 3 costs: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Module 4: Program Design and Planning              

This module is delivered to an agency that wants to create a program that supports children of incarcerated parents. Foreverfamily staff works with the agency to create a program that meets the needs of the children and their funding source requirements. Services include an environmental scan, development of job descriptions, training for mentors and mentees and their families.

Module 4 costs: contact Sandra Barnhill for details.

Need More Information?

If you are interested in topics that were not listed above or customized training and/or technical assistance using a videoconferencing format, please contact Sandra Barnhill, Foreverfamily’s National President directly at (404) 223-1200.