Reaching the Children of Inmates
CEF is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, disciple them in the Word of God and establish them in a Bible-believing church for Christian living.
So if we are a children’s ministry, why do we work with prisoners? Consider the following statistics:
Among the men held in state prison, 55 percent report having minor children.
An estimated 80,000 incarcerated women are mothers to approximately 200,000 children under 18.
More than half of the 1.4 million adults incarcerated in state and federal prisons are parents of minor children.
Who is reaching these children for Christ? Ministries like Angel Tree and Forgiven Ministries have special events for these children but do not provide long-term discipleship. This discipleship can help decrease the percentage of inmates’ children who will follow their parents into prison. Without intervention these children have a 70 percent greater chance of going to prison than a child without a parent in prison.
Identifying these children can be challenging. Thus far the most effective way of finding them is through the inmates. We do this by going into the prisons and distributing our What Went Wrong? booklets during a worship service or in their living quarters. These booklets explain the Gospel and invite the inmates to trust Christ as Savior. The last page is an enrollment form for the Truth Chasers Club (formerly the CEF Mailbox Club). This gives them the opportunity to enroll themselves as well as their children in the club.
Not only do we reach the children but the lives of the inmates are positively affected by the lessons. They become better people and better parents. Upon their reentry into society, their relationship with their children is positively affected.
Our goal is to place a What Went Wrong? booklet into the hands of every inmate in America. Through the inmates we hope to reach their children and guide them down a different path so that someday they will not be behind bars themselves asking, “What went wrong?”