Texas Group Works to Help Inmates' Families
The Texas Inmate Families Association (TIFA), which helps the families of Texas inmates, is hoping to set up support programs inside Texas schools (Jo Ann Zuñiga, "Program seeks funds to help children of Texas prisoners," Houston Chronicle, January 26, 1998, p. 17A).
There are currently about 140,000 men and women in custody in Texas. Many children of inmates live in foster care or with relatives who are often financial strapped and sometimes abusive. According to Linda Reeves, the executive director of TIFA, historically six out of ten children of prisoners have been incarcerated themselves. Reeves said TIFA is "trying to develop a program and find funds aimed at these children [of current prisoners] to deal with their abandonment and self-esteem issues with licensed counselors."
Reeves wants to work with Communities in Schools to set up support groups inside local schools. However, Reeves said the idea needs funding. According to Margot Cater, partnership director for Communities in Schools, "A lot of children don't see their parents because of drugs or jail or other reasons."
Reeves told NewsBriefs that TIFA has 13 chapters across Texas, with the largest in Houston, chaired by Georgia Aben. She said about 1000 families gather at TIFA meetings on a monthly basis. TIFA's board is chaired by Sherry Sinai, also of Houston.
Linda Reeves, TIFA Executive Director - P.O. Box 181253, Austin, TX 78718, Tel: (512) 448-6368, Fax: (512) 312-1402, E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Sherry Sinai, TIFA State Board Chair - (281) 333-5259.
Georgia Aben, TIFA Houston Chapter President - (281) 531-6797.
Communities in Schools, Margot Cater - (713) 654-1515.