--Chesapeake, MD. For the past year, DC Project Connect has participated in a research study which explored how parents and caregivers communicate with young children affected by parental incarceration. This work is important because of the millions of children who suffer in silence when a parent is missing from their lives without explanation. We believed that children deserve to know where their parents have gone. Our research confirmed that caregivers struggle when explaining these sensitive topics with young children. Our goals were to develop and put in place resources to address these concerns (see https://mystoryandme.com/resources).
The study also entailed understanding how these guardians perceived the use of storybooks to help with previously mentioned discussions. The final data analysis and reporting was completed by the research team at the Chesapeake Beach Conference Center. On day-two of the event, the team held fire-side chats and interviews with the project team regarding their experience on the project. The voiceover specialist Monique Davis, featured as the audio on 4 storybooks, reflected on her own childhood. Monique explained how these stories reminded her of what it felt like to be a child growing up with similar experiences unrelated to incarceration. This underscored the idea that these books can be used for discussions beyond the topic of parental incarceration--loss is loss.
DC Project Connect volunteers, Grace Cutting and Jasmine Copelin (photo below) provided administrative support and feedback about the major themes related to the storybook research. DC Project Connect Communications Director Charles Hart (bottom photo), provided photography and video services. We thank each of these individuals.
The project team’s resources, e.g. research, website and storybooks, will support caregivers, justice aligned individuals, and affected children. One of the project team’s storybook is already housed in the DC Department of Corrections’ library. Future outreach include providing these resources to nonprofits, charter schools, public libraries, early education programs, and electronic media. See https://www.mystoryandme.com