Purpose and Background

THE FAMILY RESTORATION NETWORK OVERVIEW

BACKGROUND

When a man is incarcerated in America, a set of physical, emotional and communication barriers automatically arise between him and his family. 44% of the 2.5 million men locked up today were living with their children at the moment of their arrest. Millions of children are left behind when Dad goes to jail.

Along with society's need to protect its citizens and to prosecute crime, it must also acknowledge the risk of having the children of inmates growing up in a fatherless environment. Fathers convey love, identity, values, skills, character, faith, stability and wealth to their children. Professional studies indicate that when children fail to receive these essential needs, they fall prey more easily to inappropriate, selfdestructive or criminal influences. The research is clear: these youth face significant risk of poverty, criminal activity, health problems and emotional deprivation. They seek identity in gangs and premature sexual activity. National security can be impacted as studies indicate that fatherless youth are easily radicalized. The emotional, financial and social cost of father-absence is enormous. Ninety-five percent of incarcerated men will eventually leave the corrections system and re-enter civic life as Returning Citizens. Fortunately, having recognized the failures of their previous decisions, we find many fathers who sincerely want to connect with their children. However, these men face three significant barriers in doing so:

1. Emotional – often there is no longer a romantic attachment to the mother(s) of their children. In fact, broken promises seem to characterize the relationship. A spirit of disagreement, anger and bitterness often prevents cooperation between the parents.

2. Financial -- Employers are often reluctant to consider hiring men with records. Compounding the issue, many Returning Fathers have limited education or employable skills.

3. Governmental – various agencies require the repayment of social debt (e.g., Child Support Enforcement, Court fines and restitutions, T.A.N.F. funds), removing or restricting the man's driver's license which creates additional emotional pressure These structural barriers contribute to a seemingly intractable dilemma as the cycle of crime, poverty and social dysfunction haunts our nation, especially in the inner cities. After studying these issues, the Family Restoration Network sincerely believes it has "cracked the code" on the source and the solution. We begin by finding those dads behind bars, who are soon to be released, having no "barrier crimes" on their record and who want to reintegrate with their minor children. We have designed a specialized process for each of the three social barriers listed above, and we are committed to working with these men before their release from incarceration.

 

OUR FAITH-BASED MOTIVATION

The FRN is a Christian, faith-based group, headquartered in Richmond Virginia, guided by a Biblical verse found in the fourth chapter of the book of Malachi, " I will send the spirit of Elijah, and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers..." Since we believe that fatherabsence from the home has a devastating effect on society, this verse motivates us to find strategic and operational solutions to father (re)engagement, especially focusing on those men returning from incarceration. The FRN is operated through New Jubilee Ministries, which designed the Network for portability to facilitate implementation across the U.S.

 

DEFINITION

The Family Restoration Network (FRN) is a consortium of churches, businesses, non-profits and government agencies that can be assembled and launched in any jurisdiction with a local jail or prison. The Network also includes Family and Fatherhood Coaches, Employer Relations Specialists and Assessment Proctors whose professional skills serve to accelerate a Returning Father's successful re-entry and re-integration.