FAQ

How does my family get involved with the One Family Parenting Program?

Families can get involved with One Family by asking the incarcerated parent to fill out an action request with “Attention: One Family” written on it. Families can also get involved by calling Natalie Bell (415) 575-4459 at our San Francisco location (County Jail #2) or by calling Arielle Reisman (650) 266-9369 at our San Bruno location (County Jail #5).

How do I schedule a parent-child contact visit?

Scheduling a parent-child contact visit is different than scheduling a glass visit. The number to call to schedule a parent-child contact visit at our San Francisco locations is (415) 575-4459. Call before Tuesday 10:00 pm to schedule a visit for that weekend. For example, if you wanted to visit on Friday, January 16th or Saturday, January 17th, you would need to call by Tuesday, January 13th by 10:00 pm. When you call, you will get a message service. Please leave your name, the child’s name, the incarcerated parent’s name and a call back number. We will give a confirmation call before the visit.

The number to call to schedule a parent-child contact visit at our San Bruno location is (650) 266-9368. Call at least 9 days before the day you want to visit. For example, if you wanted to visit on Saturday, January 17th, you would need to call by Thursday, January 8th by 5:00 pm. When you call, you will get a message service. Please leave your name, the child’s name, the incarcerated parent’s name and a call back number. We will give a confirmation call before the day of the visit.

Can I get transportation to the jails for the visits if I don’t have a car?

There are many ways to get to County Jail #2 on public transportation, including BART, MUNI, and buses. To get to County Jail #5 on public transportation, there is a free BART shuttle that you can take. Please refer to this website and scroll down to “Free BART Shuttle to San Bruno” for further information and the shuttle times: http://www.sfsheriff.com/jail_visitor_info.html#jail_5

What if I can’t get to the jail at those times to drop off my child/ren or pick them up?

Unfortunately One Family staff cannot accommodate late drop offs or early pick ups.

Is there a dress code for the jail?

Yes, there is a dress code. It’s as follows:

  • No all blue, red, or orange clothing.
  • No open-toed shoes
  • No revealing clothing. Stomach, thighs, back and shoulders should be covered.
  • No hats
  • No clothing with offensive language or images
  • No bulky jackets

Does One Family search the children before they visit their parent?

Yes and we often ask for caregiver participation. We ask children to turn their pockets inside-out, take off their shoes, and wiggle their toes. If children are uncooperative, it is helpful if we have the support of the caregiver. We also do an olfactory search, meaning we search with our sense of smell. If we smell marijuana on someone, we will cancel the visit immediately and call the family the following week to remind them of the contract they signed during their first parent-child contact visit.

What if children are resistant to go with One Family staff during the actual visit?

One Family is a team of clinicians, parents, educators, and service providers who all have experience with children. We utilize many different approaches to this normal reaction. Depending on the child’s temperament, we may use transitional objects, story telling, redirecting, or introduction to other, more experienced visitors. Caregiver participation is highly encouraged during these moments.

Will the police touch my child/ren?

No. It is against parent/child contact visiting policy for deputized staff to touch children. One Family staff will carry babies and hold small children’s hands when the group is escorted to and from the visiting room by deputized staff. Strollers are available if necessary.

Will my children be around other people in the jail? Who are they and what have they done?

Yes, your children will be around other incarcerated parents and their children during the visit. The other incarcerated parents are people, like the parent you are visiting, who are suspected of committing a crime and are awaiting resolution. One Family is required by the Sheriff’s Department to submit all names of individuals interested in receiving visits to the classifications unit. The classifications unit carefully screens every individual and, if they are not appropriate for the program, denies them access to parent-child contact visits. One Family also bases decisions regarding appropriateness for visits on current interactions. If we do not feel like someone is fit for our program it is within our discretion to deny them services with reasonable justification. 

What happens if something happens in the jail?

Our first priority is your children. In the case of an emergency, the caregiver who dropped the child off will receive a call from One Family staff immediately. One Family will escort children back to the lobby and wait for you to arrive. After all children are accounted for and depending on the severity of the situation, One Family will work with deputized staff to resolve the incident. All One Family staff are certified in Infant/Child CPR.

What if I have a talkative child and I am concerned my child will tell the incarcerated parent things I don’t want them to know?

One Family has rules posted in the visiting room. One of those rules is that messages to or about caregivers need to be told to One Family staff first. There is 1 staff member to every 3 children visiting, so every conversation that happens in the visiting room is audible to a One Family staff. We discourage parents asking kids to report their caregiver’s personal information.

Why can’t I go with my child to the visit?

Our contract with the sheriff’s department only stipulates children having contact visits with their parents. The One Family program was created by the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative. Understanding the importance of parent-child bonding, our mission is to provide active connection between parent and child during a time of separation. Though we recognize the importance of family as a unit, our current scope only allows for children to have contact with their parent.

What do you have in the room for the visits?

In the visiting room we have an array of activities for the parents and children. We have a collection of children’s books for all reading levels. We even have books that specifically talk about having an incarcerated parent. There are also board games like Apples to Apples, Headbands, Connect Four, Jenga, and more. There is stationary, markers and color pencils if children want to create artwork with their parent. We also put out a variety of toys for the children to play with. There are toy cars with racetracks, a diverse selection of dolls like Doc McStuffins and Elsa, and a pretend oven, barbeque grill and microwave with many different pretend foods. There are also Legos and blocks for the builders. We have educational toys like an alphabet mat, pretend doctor’s equipment, workbooks offered in the San Francisco School District, and flash cards.

What can my child bring to the visit room?

Food and snacks will be provided in the visits, so no outside food or drink are allowed to be brought up to the visiting room. For infants: Plastic bottles of unopened milk will be allowed to take into the visit. Please provide unmixed formula in a sealed container. Please pack as many diapers as your child/ren may need for the duration of the visit and please label these items with the incarcerated parent’s last name and put them into a clear plastic Ziploc bag.

What if my child is allergic to something or has diabetes and needs to bring in an epipen and/or glucose monitor?

Please call One Family and ask to speak with the lead at the facility where you are trying to schedule a visit at (415) 575-4459 for County Jail #2 in San Francisco or (650) 266-9369 for County Jail #5 in San Bruno.

What is my co-parent going to say to my child? Can you tell me about what they talk about?

Because serving time is very routine (the same thing happens every day), many parents focus the conversation on their children. Parents are usually asking their children questions about school, relationships, and home life. When parents do speak about themselves, they usually talk about classes they are taking and what they are learning. Parents also talk about how much they miss their children and the ways in which they keep themselves occupied while serving time.

The incarcerated parent has to do time in prison and is having a difficult time telling the child, does One Family offer support with this?

Yes. One Family provides prison transition visits to those parents interested. These visits are with one or two One Family staff, the parent and child/ren. No other families will be present. One Family utilizes this visit for parents to explain what is truly happening. We prepare the parents weeks in advance in one-on-one sessions by discussing what the parent wants to say and how they will say it.

What do incarcerated parents learn in parenting classes?

Incarcerated parents mainly work out of the Parenting Inside/Out (PIO) curriculum. The curriculum covers effective communication, bonding with your children through reading and play, child development, healthy families, nurturing your child’s individuality, child guidance, direction and encouragement, and reuniting with your child. One Family also supplements these lessons with more up-to-date articles and activities.

How long does it take to complete the class?

The PIO curriculum requires 50 hours of participation for completion. Our classes are 1½ – 2 hours per week. It takes approximately six to nine months to graduate. Parents receive certification upon completion.