PSESD is proud to partner with the Department of Corrections to offer Early Head Start (EHS) home-based and center-based services for incarcerated individuals participating in the Residential Parenting Program (RPP) at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW). The program in Gig Harbor provides eligible incarcerated mothers with the opportunity to bond with their infants and gain necessary parenting and childhood development skills through education and external support systems for a successful transition into the community. The focus of the program is on the whole family including engaging family in the community. There are strong relationships in place with many community partners including Eastside Baby Corner, Save the Children, University of Washington Speech Language Department, Women Infant Children Nutrition Program, and Hope Sparks. This whole child, whole family approach includes a home-based and a center-based model.
For the home-based model, we offer weekly home visits planned in partnership with the mom and the family educator. Weekly home visits are 90 minutes in length, utilizing the Parents as Teachers Curriculum. Home visits are focused on parent–child interaction, family well-being, and addressing any family needs. There is also a monthly new moms group for moms and babies with make-and-take activities. Throughout the year, health screenings, observations, assessments and developmental screenings are conducted to ensure babies are safe, healthy and happily developing.
For the center-based model, we offer licensed childcare for RPP mothers. Regular developmental and health screenings, observations and assessments are offered for the children, and results are shared with families. Based on family observations and results from assessments, quarterly goals for the children are created in partnership with the moms. Everything is individualized for each child, using Creative Curriculum in classroom activities, including monthly home visits.
WCCW and PSESD come together to ensure that not only are mothers taught new skills, but also that their social, emotional and health needs are met. The need for programs like this is great — given the disproportionate representation of people of color in the judicial system and how the system affects women of color. This is the only program of its kind in the nation, and PSESD is proud to be part of a program that makes an incredible difference in the lives of pregnant women entering or returning to the judicial system.