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  2. Promising Practices

Promising Practices

While the parenting classes and therapy for incarcerated parents are certainly strong contributors to the overall success of the Second Chances program, staff note that involving the custodial parent in parenting classes as well has been one of their most notable successes. Custodial parents’ participation in parenting classes is not required in order for the incarcerated parent to participate in Second Chances, though it is highly encouraged. Rather than solely having the incarcerated parent learn and develop new skills, mindsets, and parenting strategies only to reenter their home to a partner who is potentially disconnected from those lessons and growth, having both parents explore the same topics and push themselves in similar ways through the parenting classes allows for a more cohesive parenting unit with stronger communication that ultimately serves the child. This dual approach to parenting classes for families affected by incarceration allows both custodial and incarcerated parents to grow together with a shared purpose and foundational goal to support and strengthen relationships with their child. Despite the lack of existing program data on family outcomes after reentry, Second Chances staff acknowledge that the approach creates heightened awareness within both parents of how their actions affect their child’s wellbeing.