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Connecticut Appleseed is a statewide, non-partisan public interest organization dedicated to building a more just society. Our mission is to develop solutions for the causes, rather than the symptoms, of our state's social problems. We deploy volunteer lawyers and other professionals to achieve systemic changes through legal and legislative advocacy, negotiation, education and other initiatives. Our projects focus on the education, healthcare and financial issues affecting the disadvantaged because we believe the needs of our state's disadvantaged citizens are increasing.
The CLICC (Connecting Through Literacy Inmates, Children, and Caregviers) family literacy pilot program is serving 15 inmates at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) in Danbury, Connecticut and up to 30 of their children, aged 8-14. FCI Danbury houses low-security female offenders, a great number of whom have children living in different cities and states in far proximity from the facility. Participants remain in the program for a 3-month curriculum cycle.
The program is intended to facilitate communication between the incarcerated parent and their child so they feel more connected and the parent can become more of a capable and committed caregiver who can reassume the role as parent. The parent and child read and discuss books together through the TrueLink communication system, a breakthrough secure e-mail system developed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Literacy mentors will support incarcerated parents (in-person) and their children (virtually).
Reading is structured through a family literacy curriculum developed by Columbia University Teacher's College with input from national experts at the Department of Education and Literacy Volunteers of Stamford/Greenwich (LVSG). Reading is Fundamental (RIF) will provide one book per month to both the child and incarcerated parent.
Supportive mentors assist both the parent and child in completing their literacy exercises. Incarcerated parents interact with an in-person literacy mentor, and children with a virtual e-mentor. At the end of the 3-month program, children may continue their relationship with their e-mentor (if so desired) and follow-up will be done to ensure that parents are continuing to communicate with their child.
- Sandra Sirota
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