When parents go to prison, are their relationships with their children 'Beyond Repair'?
"Truth is, Wilson, I don't think my father has ever seen me …
even when he bothered to see me at all."
This October, Focus on the Family will release a special episode of Adventures in Odyssey, called "Beyond Repair," that offers a peek into the lives of kids growing up with a parent in prison. Adventures in Odyssey presents original children's audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience.
In "Beyond Repair," a young woman named Alicia goes to visit her incarcerated father. Accompanied by Pastor Wilson Knox, Alicia prepares to see her father for the first time in years. And while the pastor hopes the visit will spark a renewal in the father and daughter's relationship, Alicia plans on confronting her father about his absence from her life. Listeners will find out if their relationship can ever be restored.
THE PROBLEM: INVISIBLE VICTIMS OF INCARCERATION
In America, approximately 2.7 million children have a mom or dad in prison. That's one in every 28 kids. For these children, who are often stigmatized for their parents' crimes, the consequences can be devastating.
In fact, children who experience parental incarceration are some of America's most at-risk kids. They are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, as well as physical health problems. They are also more likely to grow up in poverty, enter foster care, or become homeless. And they are three times more likely to one day be involved in the criminal justice system themselves. These children are the invisible victims of incarceration.
THE SOLUTION: CONNECTION
But there is hope. When the relationships between children and their incarcerated parents are restored, the family becomes a source of love, stability, and hope. In situations where it is appropriate, the benefits of renewed contact between parent and child greatly influences the child's development, while at the same time reducing the likelihood of the parent reoffending after release.
Angel Tree®, a program of Prison Fellowship®, serves incarcerated parents by providing a pathway for restoring and strengthening their relationships with their children and families. Every year, volunteers from thousands of churches nationwide deliver Christmas gifts and a personal message to children on behalf of incarcerated parents.
Throughout the year, children also have a chance to take part in Angel Tree Camping™ or an Angel Tree Sports Clinic, where they are lifted up by caring mentors and hear about God's love, with many children accepting Jesus into their hearts for the very first time.
ADVENTURES IN ODYSSEY
Adventures in Odyssey was first created in 1987 by Focus on the Family as an audio drama for children. Since that time, Adventures in Odyssey has broadcast 800 episodes and now reaches more than 750,000 children and their parents in the United States each week through 1,822 radio affiliates. The Adventures in Odyssey Club serves as the online site for members to have access to hundreds of archived adventures. It is a safe online experience for children teaching lasting truths through storytelling.
'Beyond Repair' will be featured during the month of October as an audio release and will spotlight Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program.