Children of Incarcerated

Parents (CHIP)

  • CHIP Sites
  • Related Sites
  • Why Mentor?
  • Facts About Kids
  • Resources


AmeriCorps Service Sites



Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland

Match Support Specialist

Mentoring Match Specialist will work as a full-time to provide match support to ensure child safety, positive impacts for youth, constructive and satisfying relationships between children and volunteers, and a strong sense of affiliation with the agency on the part of volunteers. The Match Support Specialist is responsible for providing high-level customer service throughout the effective implementation of the volunteer and child enrollment and matching process in accordance with agency standards and volunteer options.

This person should have:

  • Education or work experience in social services, human resources or related field
  • Demonstrated work experience working with both child and adult populations and understanding of family dynamics
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills reflecting solid customer service and high-level interviewing skills
  • Ability to: form appropriate relationships; relate well in multicultural environments; maintain confidentiality throughout daily operations; effectively collaborate with other volunteer match staff; use time effectively; and focus on details
  • Proficiency in Word, Outlook, and Excel.
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends
  • Must have own reliable mode of transportation and use to perform certain job requirements.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland

School Site Coordinator

The School Site Coordinator will assist with programs at various schools in central Maryland. The coordinator will develop enrichment activities and materials to support mentor-mentee pairs. The coordinator will also assist with managing a new school research study.


Village Learning Place

LINK Program Assistant

More details coming soon!


Alternative Directions

After Care Transition (ACT) Coordinator, CHIP Coordinator

The AmeriCorps member at Alternative Directions has two main responsibilities:

  • Coordinate ACT workshops at Maryland Correctional Institute for Women by inviting speakers from city, state, and non-profit agencies to speak to women preparing for their release.
  • Coordinate the CHIP Program by identifying children affected by parental incarceration and matching them with caring adult mentors recruited from the community.




    Laboure Center

    TEAM Mentoring Program (Together Engaging Adolescents through Mentoring)

    CHIP members assist with mentor recruitment. They prepare mentees and mentors for matching by interviewing, screening, checking references, and leading pre-match meetings. They provide match support by calling, utilizing conflict resolution when necessary, running ongoing trainings, setting clear expectations and guidance through stages of the relationship. NDA members assist with program evaluation and reporting. They will promote T.E.A.M. among local youth and work on community collaboration. An interest in infrastructure building, program evaluation, and youth development is important. For more information check out:



    Marillac Social Service Center

    CHIP Coordinator

    Marillac Social Service Center is a 90+ year old social service agency that works with a population ranging from young children to senior citizens, providing both educational and social services. The NDA member splits time between social service work at Marillac and coordinating the new CHIP program by recruiting, training, and matching mentors with children of incarcerated parents identified by the center and in the surrounding community.




    Related Sites

    Check out these other placements where Notre Dame-AmeriCorps members do related work.

    • Dorchester Youth Alternative Academy, Boston, MA
    • I Have a Dream Foundation, Boulder, CO
      (ask about working specifically with Children of Incarcerated Parents)


    Why Mentor?

    All children need positive and supportive adults. Children with incarcerated parents are especially in need of caring adults in their lives because of the trauma they have experienced. Good mentors can help children improve social and cognitive skills by building trust and strengthening personal relationships. Mentors can be role models, confidants, and emotionally supportive advocates.

    All it takes is one hour, once a week, for one year.



    Facts about Children of the Incarcerated

    Approximately two point four million children in the United States have at least one incarcerated parent.
    -All Alone in the World, Nell Bernstein


    Seven million children have parents under correctional supervision: in prison, in jail, or on probation or parole.
    -Child Welfare League of America


    Children whose parents are in prison are at risk for low performance in school, teen pregnancy, and drug abuse.
    -Child Welfare League of America


    A tenth of these children will be detained before they turn eighteen, and about half of the boys whose parents are incarcerated will be incarcerated themselves.
    -All Alone in the World, Nell Bernstein


    Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents

    1. I have the right to be kept safe and informed at the time of my parent’s arrest.
    2. I have the right to be heard when decisions are made about me;
    3. I have the right to be considered when decisions are made about my parent;
    4. I have the right to be well-cared for in my parent’s absence;
    5. I have the right to speak with, see, and touch my parent;
    6. I have the right to support as I face my parent’s incarceration;
    7. I have the right to not be judged, blamed or labeled because my parent is incarcerated;
    8. I have the right to have a lifelong relationship with my parent.



    Excerpt from Nell Bernstein's book,
    All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated

    Bernstein, Nell. All Alone in the World Children of the Incarcerated.  New York: The New Press, 2005.

    Summary of Jean Rhodes's book,
    Stand By Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today's Youth

    Rhodes, Jean E. Stand By Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today’s Youth.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.


    “Partnership Between Corrections and Child Welfare, Part Two: Collaboration for Change,” Annie E. Casey Foundation, March 2002: 8.

    “Understanding and Supporting Foster Children with Incarcerated Parents,” Jordan Institute for Families, January 2002.


    Judith Tannenbaum's Webpage and Blog
    Judith Tannenbaum is a poet living in California. She has several years' experience teaching poetry and writing at San Quentin State Prison in California.