We make it no secret that our programs at Lifeline Global are intentionally Christian-based. Our Malachi Dads curriculum was developed around the verse of Malachi 4:6, and our Hannah’s Gift program is rooted in the Biblical story of Hannah. It is evident that God paints a clear picture in scripture of how a man and woman are supposed to be in the eyes of the Lord. Just as important is how they are called to be as parents of their children.

Once in a while, though, it is important to provide context to our ministry that looks beyond scripture. More and more studies are being developed and reported that point to the importance of parental training among the incarcerated. The research indicates that training in these areas is as important to the incarcerated student as they are to the families on the outside.

For instance, a recent survey put out by the RAND Corporation entitled: Programs for Incarcerated Parents; Preliminary Findings from a Pilot Survey found that incarcerated men responded well to programs that focus on fathering and the family. Specifically, the study discovered the following:

  • Survey respondents had overwhelmingly positive perceptions of the programs at their facilities and agreed that programs were successfully meeting objectives.
  • The most commonly reported strength was the motivation of the participating parents. Other commonly reported strengths were effective resources, staff skills, and staff buy-in.
  • Notably, the most common challenge was identical to the most common strength: lack of parent motivation. Other commonly cited challenges were staff burnout and limited funds.

The report can be found HERE.

Likewise, a white paper published in December by the Health and Human Services Office entitled, “The Effects of Parenting Programs for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers” found that in Responsible Fathering programs that serve fathers in prison, the literature suggests that parenting education offered in group sessions can be effective for improving some parenting outcomes. These outcomes include those related to fathers’ contact with their child and their parenting skills, attitudes, and knowledge.

That paper can be found HERE.

As Christians, we don’t need secular studies to necessarily tell us how or why to do ministry. After all, Jesus’ instructions were perfectly clear in Matthew 25:31-46, that we are to serve the incarcerated. But it validating to know that the academics indicate that we are on the right track.

In His Name,

Romney Ruder

Mother and son bond over a craft at a Hannah's Gift event