About Children of Incarcerated Caregivers (CIC)

Since 2015, CIC has researched, identified, and worked to implement solutions to enhance the lives of children affected by parental incarceration. Whether we are connecting Twin Cities youth to summer camps and other resources, promoting child-focused sentencing practices and community-based alternatives to parental incarceration, or advocating for the rights of children living in prisons with parents around the world, our work is deeply informed by a belief that, if given support, opportunities, and resources, children with parents involved in criminal legal systems can and will thrive.

We’re launching this newsletter to keep our community updated about our work and to grow our network of those who share our desire to see children impacted by incarceration reach their full potential.

For more frequent updates on CIC, please follow us on LinkedIn.

Families Together

CIC’s Families Together program researches and advocates for alternatives to parental incarceration, such as innovative probation programs that allow parents of minor children to stay with them in the community.

University of Minnesota Liberal Arts Engagement Hub Residency

We are excited to announce that CIC received a Hub Residency grant in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Program (HRP).

The Liberal Arts Engagement Hub is a unique university space dedicated to fostering public engagement and civil society. In 2024-25, CIC’s Board President, Julie Matonich, and HRP’s Director, Carrie Walling, will volunteer their time to co-teach “Parental Incarceration and Human Rights,” a two-semester seminar at the University that applies an international human rights lens to the issue of parental incarceration. Throughout the year, students and community stakeholders will develop policy alternatives to parental incarceration and plan a symposium, to be held in spring 2025, at which these alternatives will be presented to the community and local decision-makers. We are thrilled to partner with HRP in this capacity and grateful to the University of Minnesota for this opportunity.

Read more about our project and the other 2024-2025 Hub Residencies here.

Our Pro Bono Research Partnerships

CIC partners with law students through the robust pro bono program at the University of California Irvine (UCI), which pairs UCI law students with public interest organizations nationwide, as well as through the Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) Law School Public Service Program, which connects students at Mitchell Hamline, the University of Minnesota, and St. Thomas to pro bono legal opportunities. For the past two years, UCI and MJF students have researched and written reports on alternatives to parental incarceration for Families Together.

CIC’s Free CLE Series

If you work in the legal field and are hoping to earn CLE credit, or if you’d simply like to learn more about family-focused sentencing practices, you can listen to Considering the Parental Role at Sentencing, a six-part, free podcast created in partnership with CIC and the University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Program. In each episode, CIC board member and Hennepin County public defender Michael Holland interviews experts with different perspectives on how and why lawyers and judges should consider the best interests of children when considering appropriate sentences.

Prison Nursery Project

Through CIC’s Prison Nursery Project, we identify and consider the risks, benefits, best practices, and alternatives to having children live with a parent while that parent is incarcerated.

Podcast and Reports

We’ve released seven episodes of the International Prison Nursery Podcast, each of which features an interview with a subject expert. We’ve also produced reports on how prison nurseries operate in other countries.

Global Prison Nursery Network

2023 marked the year that CIC founded the Global Prison Nursery Network (GPNN) to facilitate the sharing of information and promote collective action on behalf of children. In November, we hosted a symposium of the GPNN in partnership with Columbia Law School. This first symposium was a success, with over 100 people registering to attend this hybrid event. If you’re interested in watching a video recording of the symposium, you can view it here.

Dr. Smita Dharmamer, the Associate Director of Children in State Care at Aangan Trust India, was a panelist at the GPNN Symposium and is a Global Prison Nursery Network Member. Her poignant words capture our work with committed partners throughout the world:

“In the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, there is a proverb, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ which means the world is one family. As we strive to help the most vulnerable children in prison nurseries, who remain invisible across the globe, this principle resonates deeply. Our collective effort to gather evidence and best practices aims towards the best interest of these children and is a testament to the spirit of global unity and care.”

CIC will host the 2024 Global Prison Nursery Network symposium, in partnership with Columbia University Law School Journal of Gender and Law, on November 1, 2024.

CIC Connects

Our CIC Connects program connects Twin Cities Metro Area youth impacted by parental incarceration to resources and opportunities. We partner with YMCA of the North and other trusted community partners, promoting their summer camps and enrichment programs to CIC families.

This summer Kania Johnson assumed a new role at CIC as Director of Outreach and Engagement! Kania interned with CIC in 2019 and since that time she has been a committed member of our Advisory Board. Kania has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Humprey School and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. Kania is a visionary who is deeply committed to families impacted by parental incarceration. We are grateful to have her working to expand the work that CIC started

Our current initiatives include:

  • Partnering with YMCA Camp Icaghowan for the fifth year and YMCA Camp Olson for the second year, connecting youth in our network to their overnight summer camps

  • Partnering with YMCA Bold Gold to send older teens to summer camp

  • Launching a family camp for caregivers and kids at Camp Icaghowan in September 2024

  • Starting a partnership with Tickets for Kids, allowing CIC to provide families in our network to attend sports events, visit museums, and more

  • Supporting the Caregiver Council, a group where caregivers of children impacted by parental incarceration can connect with one another and get access to resources and support

  • Facilitating an Angel Tree Gift Drive with Mercy Vineyard Church that gave free Christmas gifts to CIC families. Read about the kids’ and caregivers’ reactions here.

Save the Date

Please Save the Date

CIC is hosting its second fundraising brunch, Grassroots to Global Advocacy, at the American Swedish Institute on Saturday, October 26, 2024.

Donate to CIC

Thank you to everyone who has donated to CIC. Your contributions have allowed us to increase our impact!

CIC is a small nonprofit that relies heavily on individual donations. If you would like to make an impact today, please click here.

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