Stoneleigh Fellow Kathleen Creamer and her Fellowship are featured in Next City.
Although parents have a legal right to be included in DHS status meetings at least once every six months, Creamer says in practice it doesn’t always work out that way.
“These are very important meetings since they basically are designed to set up an action plan for unification, yet historically parents who were incarcerated weren’t part of the program,” says Creamer. “In my experience DHS hasn’t been doing the best job of getting everyone at the table.”
It’s not for lack of caring. Creamer says social workers don’t want to ignore the needs of incarcerated parents and their kids, “they just don’t know how to serve them best.” Indeed, DHS was highly receptive to her plan to look into the potential of videoconferencing to break down the barriers between incarcerated parents, social workers and children.