FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Contact: ACF Press Office
First Voucher Released In Bend, Oregon, Through Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced the first vouchers for mentoring services for children of prisoners have been issued to a family in Bend, Oregon.
The voucher segment of the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program was created to expand access to mentoring services nationwide. The first two vouchers were released through a grant to the organization MENTOR from the Family and Youth Services Bureau in HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. They will be used at Central Oregon Partnerships for Youth, a project of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
"Mentoring has been a long-standing priority of the Bush Administration," Secretary Leavitt said. “Because a mentor can change the life of a child forever, we committed to increasing the number of children who have access to this program.”
Congress reauthorized the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program in the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006. The act incorporated President Bush’s proposal to allow the use of program vouchers to reach more children of incarcerated individuals by authorizing a Voucher Service Delivery Demonstration Project.
In the first year alone, $5 million in authorized funding will provide at least 3,000 vouchers for mentoring services for children of prisoners. In the second year, $10 million has been authorized which will allow 8,000 vouchers to be provided. In the final year of the project, $15 million will provide at least 13,000 vouchers to families of children of prisoners.
"Because of these vouchers, six and seven-year old brothers in Oregon will now be connected to stable adult role models through a mentoring relationship," said Daniel Schneider, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families.
There are currently more than two million children with at least one parent in prison. Studies have shown that children with incarcerated parents are more likely than their peers to commit a crime. However, children involved in a mentoring relationship get better grades and are less likely to engage in harmful behaviors such as drinking or using drugs.To learn more about the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program, visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/youthdivision/programs/mcpfactsheet.htm.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: April 30, 2008