The County of Tulare Sheriff’s Department’s Gang Awareness Parenting Project addresses issues associated with gangs or violence and their overall impact on children ages zero through five in Northern Tulare County.
Adults and Children Together (ACT), an evidence-based curriculum, is used to work with inmates and their families (outmates) through a weekly home visitation model. The project provides an eight-week parenting class to identified inmates who have children ages zero through five, who are at risk of exposure to violence. Home visits for outmates and jail visits for inmates occur initially on a weekly basis and are adjusted as indicated by need over a six-month period. Each visit has a clear structure, set activities, and is thoroughly documented. The ACT curriculum is designed to help families from all backgrounds raise children without violence by providing basic information about child development; risk factors for violence and its consequences; protective factors; and skills for effective parenting. Goals and objectives are established and aligned with each inmate’s release plan.
"An inmate, who has always been on-guard and never allowed himself to show any emotion, was shown a video on the effects of chronic exposure to violence in a child’s brain. The inmate’s facial expression immediately changed from his usual expression of apparent annoyance into an expression of pain and sadness. He began to cry during the video and at the conclusion of the video; he pulled out his feeling blocks to better communicate his sadness that was caused by his self-reported guilt of having exposed his children to violence and his strong desire to not allow his children to follow into his footsteps."
"An inmate who was learning about potential long-term effects of exposure to violence on children, bowed his head down and said he was ashamed of having exposed his son to violence during his childhood. He said that he believes that it played a big role in his son’s choice of joining gangs and living a violent lifestyle. He said he wants to do whatever he can to attempt to reverse or mitigate the damage done from the mistakes that he committed while he raised his son."