Delaware Delegation Announces $2.1 Million Grant for Mentoring

Professional Counseling Resources to receive money for mentors to children of prisoners

Wilmington, DE – Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle announced today that Professional Counseling Resources is set to receive $2.1 million over three years to provide mentors to children of prisoners. This grant is part of a $45.6 million nationwide grant aimed at helping some of the two million children who have at least one incarcerated parent. “When a young person’s mother or father goes to prison, the child often gets sentenced to several years without a parent. Mentoring programs can serve as a positive force in a kid’s life and increase the likelihood they’ll stay in school and off the streets,” said Senator Biden. “A caring mentor provides stability and guidance for the youngster and lets the incarcerated parent know that somebody is looking out for the best interests of their child while they repay their debt to society.” “It is important that every child in Delaware has a fair start. These children are in need of positive role models in their lives. This money will go a long way in making that a reality,” said Senator Carper. “The importance of mentoring cannot be stressed enough — the ability to reach a child at a young age and guide them through the rough times in their lives is truly a gift for both the mentor and the children. Children whose parents are incarcerated face unique circumstances and deserve a helping hand,” said Congressman Castle. Research has found that significant physical absence of a parent has profound effects on child development. Children of incarcerated parents are seven times more likely to become involved in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. Parental arrest and confinement often lead to stress, trauma, stigmatization and separation problems for children. These problems may be compounded by existing poverty, violence, substance abuse, high-crime environments, child abuse and neglect, multiple caregivers and/or prior separations. The grants are administered through U.S. Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, which received 581 applications this year for new grant money. The mentoring children of prisoners program is a three-year initiative fully funded this year by Congress. So far, approximately 6,000 kids have been mentored, with an expectation of 33,000 additional youth served as a result of the new grants.