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Dr. Renata Hedrington-Jones



On March 18, 2019, Dr. Hedrington-Jones was a guest on the "Gary Flowers" Show; 101.3 FM. During the 30 min. interview, she discussing how children are affected by parental incarceration. As a welcome, Mr. Flowers asked Dr. Hedrington-Jones to shared a bit about her background, as a Phd, social worker, faculty member of Walden University, and being a native Washingtonian. This background provided insights about why she is passionate about the research study, 'Caregivers' Communication Practices With Children of Incarcerated Parents,' which was also conducted in the DMV area.



Simply put, the study was designed to understand challenges that caregivers (parents, grandparents, relatives, and other guardians) have when discussing the topic of incarceration with minor children under 10 years old.



As researchers, Dr. Renata and the team hypothesized that storybooks could be used to support these discussions. The team was pleased to draw from the insights of 22 caregivers who attended 8 focus groups to share their best practices as well as challenges to having these discussions with the children of whom they cared for. From that body of knowledge, the research team developed three wonderful storybooks found here (click). These books are audio format free of charge, but can be purchased by institutions to use in community programs, as interventions, and as a companion to parenting programs.

Story Summaries:




Rocko’s Guitar, by Dr. Geoff Johnson, Rocko’s Guitar, is a story about a young male who adores his dad, a budding musician. Rocko’s bond with his father is strengthened when his dad gives him a cherished guitar for his birthday. Their relationship must withstand an unexpected separation due to Dad’s incarceration


Truth and the Big Dinner, By Dr. Renata Hedrington-Jones, Truth and the Big Dinner, a story about a little girl named “Truth” who is just learning about her self-identity and the importance of self-image. To her, the big dinner is a day that she can show off her new hairdo and her affectionate relationship with her mom. She loves her big family. However, they all have concealed the big secret: Mommy is not coming home for the big dinner because she is incarcerated.



Jamie’s Big Visit,** By Dr. Avon Hart-Johnson. This book chronicles Jamie the Bear’s experience as he learns about grown-up time-out (incarceration). This guide helps a parent or caregiver to explain and minimize the possible fear associated with their first prison visit.




Baby Star Finds “Happy,” by Dr. Avon Hart-Johnson, Baby Star Finds “Happy” is a story about a child’s journey, where she embraces friendship, family, and forgiveness when a mother goes to jail. Baby Star learns that sadness is a normal response when someone you love is gone. She also learns that she is not at fault for her mother’s incarceration.



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