Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Joins New Behavioral Health Initiative Supporting Incarcerated Parents and Their Children

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Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Joins New Behavioral Health Initiative Supporting Incarcerated Parents and Their Children

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office joined in a new partnership with Walker Therapeutic & Educational Programs (Walker), a leader in the fields of children’s behavioral health and child welfare. This collaboration, generously supported by a grant from Massachusetts State Senator Michael Rush, aims to develop and implement specialized Behavioral Health programming for incarcerated individuals, focusing on the mental wellbeing and socialemotional development of their children.

Gene Takahashi, CEO of Walker, expressed his vision for the initiative: “At Walker, we recognize the profound impact parental incarceration can have on children. This initiative is not just about intervention; it’s about hope, healing, and building a stronger future for these families. With the support of Senator Rush and our dedicated team at Walker Solutions, we are setting a new standard for how we support children and families in these challenging situations.”

This week, Senator Rush formally presented the funding to Walker at the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Department in Dedham. This ceremony represented a pivotal moment in collaborative efforts to address the intricate needs of children affected by parental incarceration.

As one of the agencies participating in this new endeavor, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department welcomed the opportunity to positively impact the lives of incarcerated men and women by providing needed services to their children and families.

“In my work as the Sheriff of Suffolk County, I am well aware of the deleterious effect that having an incarcerated parent can have on the lives of children, not just for the duration of the incarceration, but across their lifetimes,” said Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins. “This program offers the opportunity to strengthen the family unit, provide critical services to help children reconnect with their parents, and, as a result, help to break the cycle of incarceration that is often begun when a parent is incarcerated.”

Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick W. McDermott echoed this sentiment. “We can’t begin to talk about successful re-entry without addressing the impact the justice-involved individual’s incarceration has had on their families and, in particular, their children. This initiative, which will provide programming both pre- and post-release, will help individuals and their families work through these challenges to rebuild relationships and strengthen their bond,” said Sheriff McDermott. “Adding this initiative into the existing programming we provide will give the individuals in our custody an even stronger foundation to break the cycle of recidivism. Thank you to Senator Rush and Representative McMurtry for understanding the positive impact programs like this will have on incarcerated individuals, their children, and their families.”