Washington State DOC Film Promotes Child Welfare, Parental Reentry

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In a unique partnership, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) recently joined forces with the United States Children Bureau (CB) to develop a film aimed at promoting child wellbeing. The two entities together released Building Community, Building Hope — the first film in a planned series that will document successful efforts across the country to prevent child maltreatment.

This particular film focuses on innovative programs working to engage parents transitioning from confinement back to their communities as they form the improved partnerships needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their children and families, according to a statement by the DOC. The film highlights some of the impacts of incarceration on children and families, and was also made in partnership with the state’s Department of Early Learning (DEL)

Ross Hunter, DEL director, said in a statement that investing in strong parent-child relationships is an effective way to improve outcomes for children in the state. “This partnership allows us to strengthen families and remove barriers for our most at-risk children, all while using preventative measures to promote healthy child development that could have a positive impact on Washingtonians in the future,” he added.

In Washington States, some eligible, incarcerated parents are allowed to remain in their homes (or return home early) to be with their children and to serve their sentences while receiving wrap-around services that also benefit their families, according to a statement by the DOC. This Parent Sentencing Alternative law was designed to reduce recidivism, address intergenerational incarceration and promote efficient effective supervision practices. To date, more than 300 participants have successfully completed the program and only eight percent have returned to prison following their participation, according to a statement by the DOC.

“The Washington Department of Corrections’ ability to collaborate with partners throughout the state, while positively impacting the safety of citizens and children, is innovative and fulfilling,” said Anmarie Aylward, assistant secretary for community corrections, in a statement. “This program not only reduces recidivism but does that by improving the family lives of Washingtonians.”

The featurette An Unlikely Partnership as well as Building Community, Building Hope are both available at Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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