Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Three Pennsylvanians Honored at White House

On Wednesday, June 12, the White House honored twelve “Champions of Change” who have dedicated themselves to supporting children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers.  These individuals have worked on the front line to ensure that innocent children, nearly 2 million of whom have a parent who is incarcerated, do not suffer as a consequence of adult decisions.  The Champions have helped scores of children and their families by minimizing the potential negative impacts of having a parent who is incarcerated, including financial instability, changes in housing, and isolation due to stigma.

Among the recipients

Wilson Goode
Philadelphia, PA

In 2000, Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Sr., who is known affectionately as the “father” of the Children of Prisoners Movement in the country, organized Amachi, an effective mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents. He began implementing the program in just four sections of Philadelphia, and soon thereafter it was replicated nationwide with the creation of at least 350 Amachi-modeled programs that have served more than 300,000 youth in all 50 states. Prior to Dr. Goode’s work with Amachi, he served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia, two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.  Dr. Goode regularly offers his expertise through consulting and speaking engagements, for which he has received numerous awards, certificates, and honors.

Claire Walker
Pittsburgh, PA

Claire Walker began her career by obtaining her PhD at Columbia University.  She then spent the next 45 years organizing communities to advocate for urgent reforms to protect children and families in today’s world.  She led a neighborhood movement to protect people from needlessly languishing in jail after arrest in Reading Pennsylvania, created a successful agency to prevent and treat child abuse in Pittsburgh, and for the past decade has brought together all parts of the Pittsburgh community to address the needs of children whose parents are incarcerated.  She retired as Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation in December 2012 and continues to champion incarcerated parents’ rights to parent and their children’s rights to be parented through her recent appointment to the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board and participation in the work of the Children’s Roundtable of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. 

Ann Adalist-Estrin
Wyncote, PA

Ann Adalist-Estrin is Director of the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated in Philadelphia. Under Ann’s leadership, NRCCFI has provided consultation to government and non-government agencies and community programs in 47 states including Connecticut’s state wide Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative; Sesame Street; Austin Independent School District, Prison Fellowship Ministries and The Red Heart Association of Taiwan.  She is author of The Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children in the Child Welfare System Curriculum (New Jersey Department of Children and Families, 2011)  Mentoring Children of Prisoners Curriculum (CWLA, 2004) Responding to Children and Families of Prisoners:  A Community Guide (FCN, 2003), and The Children of Incarcerated Parents Library available online at www.fcnetwork.  Ann is also a Child and Family Therapist at Samaritan Counseling Center in Jenkintown, PA; a trainer for the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program at Boston University School of Medicine; and adjunct faculty at Rutgers University, Camden New Jersey.

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