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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Health > Spotlight Non-profit: Helping mothers released from jail build a strong future for their families

Spotlight Non-profit: Helping mothers released from jail build a strong future for their families

LatinaLista — There are over 63,000 women in state and federal prisons. Of these women, 80 percent are mothers who will reunite with their children being their main caregiver once they’re released from prison. Unfortunately, many of these women will have no physical home to return to with their children.

Also, the majority of these women have no real job skills, have low educational levels, no financial resources and a good portion of the women are victims of domestic violence themselves. It’s not the best way for reunified families to start a new beginning — that’s where the need for Hour Children comes in.

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Located in Long Island City, New York, Hour Children provides these women and their children with housing, childcare and a host of services to get their lives back on track and to make sure the children feel safe in their environments.

The name of the organization was chosen because the children’s lives of incarcerated women are dictated by the “hour” of the mother’s arrest, the “hour” of the visit and the “hour” of her return.

Hour Children not only provides counseling, mentoring and educational services to women once they’re released from jail but also when they’re behind bars too. It’s a way to prepare the women how to re-enter the workforce, as well as, reconnect with their children.

Today, Hour Children has five residences in Queens that provide immediate available housing for over 50 families. Three of these residences are now used as transitional housing for mothers and babies coming out of NY State prison nurseries or for women reuniting with children who have been living either in foster care or with family members. One residence is the ONLY official NY State work release site for a woman to come to live with her infant. Two other residences provide affordable, permanent, supportive housing to 12 families.

Hour Children depends in part on private donations and proceeds from thrift stores operated by the non-profit and staffed with some of the released mothers where they are learning vital job skills.

Hour Children is committed to the compassionate and loving care of children of incarcerated women. Our outreach includes support and empowerment for mothers upon reunification with their families. All persons are encouraged to live and interact with dignity and respect.

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