Girl Scouts Beyond Bars
Do you know a girl whose mother is incarcerated within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections? She is not alone – more than two million children in the U.S. have a parent in prison or jail.
Our Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) program works with girls, their caregivers and siblings, and their incarcerated mothers to build and strengthen healthy, lasting relationships.
Children with incarcerated parents have unique social and emotional needs. This situation can be traumatic and overwhelming for the children and their caregivers. Children who continue to stay in touch with their parent in prison exhibit fewer disruptive and anxious behaviors. By creating opportunities for visiting their incarcerated mother and providing referrals to families and caregivers for support services, the GSBB program supports future reintegration and reunification.
Through a structured program for incarcerated mothers, the women learn strategies to interact confidently, feel competent in their role as a parent, and practice parenting skills. There is evidence to prove mothers who stay in touch with their children have lower recidivism rates and reunification is made easier and more likely once the mother is released from prison. Participation in the program can help an incarcerated mother become eligible to participate in a GSBB Girl Scout meeting at her correction center with her daughter!
GSBB prepares girls and their siblings in advance. Like letting them know how they’ll get there and what they might expect to see and do while they are there (wait in line, see mom in a uniform, and follow rules). The children will also learn that they have to say goodbye at the end of the visit and leave without mom but will be able to visit again.
Through Girl Scouts and related support services, they become girls (and women) of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place … and break the chain of incarceration while giving the family another chance to thrive.
For more information, or to recommend a girl you know, please contact us at CustomerCare@gseok.org.