Working with Incarcerated Parents: Craven County attends Re-Entry Fair



Finding creative ways to support all parents – that is key in YoungWilliams’ child support offices. North Carolina’s Craven County child support office is doing just that by attending a recent local re-entry fair. The Craven County fair was a new offering for the community, which targets parents recently released from prison. It was organized by a non-profit who works with people on the skills they need to find a job.

It can be hard for formerly incarcerated people to find a job, but re-entry fairs gather community resources who might be able to help. These parents need help with job skills, budgeting, and finding employers. While the re-entry fairs are designed for attendees with a criminal record, they can also be beneficial for veterans and parents who have mental health or substance abuse issues.

“One of the first things many recently released parents need to do is address their child support obligation,” said Sameon West, Community Liaison. “Re-entry fairs are a great way for us to connect with people who need our services and make a difference for them.”

West and Ivy Wilder-Moore, the Craven County office manager, both noted that the outside location of the fair was specially designed for the attendees. Recently released attendees may be apprehensive to walk into a closed building; however, the fair format allowed them to walk among the booths and approach those which caught their interest. At the child support booth, the attendees could ask questions about services, their rights, and how child support works upon release from incarceration. Other community stakeholders attended the fairs and took the opportunity to ask questions about the child support program.

“One of the biggest things about the re-entry fair was to see community stakeholders lined up together for one purpose, which is to help people coming out of prison,” said West. “This population is not getting the recognition it needs. The transition from prison is hard and the fair helped to support those who need our help in a manner and at a location that was comfortable for them.”

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