What is the Family Preservation Project?

The Family Preservation Project (FPP) promotes individual and system level change to reduce the collateral consequences of parental incarceration on children, families, and the community. FPP achieves this through 8 direct service programs, four of which operate inside Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF) in Wilsonville, Oregon. They include:

Intensive Family Reunification Program

  • ongoing, meaningful, supervised visitations between mothers and their children
  • guidance and coaching that helps mothers learn healthy ways to interact with their children
  • intensive case management through family interventions, transition support, adult education and parenting support

Family Resource Center

  • provides individual and group-based educational and support services
  • addresses and minimizes barriers to parenting from prison
  • helps mothers regain, maintain, and improve bonds with their children and family members while incarcerated and upon release
  • offers weekly psycho-educational groups

Monthly Speaker Series

  • an educational resource available to all women at CCCF
  • experts speak on topics ranging from financial literacy to family law

Between the Lines

  • incarcerated parents read books onto recorders, the recording and book are then mailed to their children
  • serves as a bridge between parent and child and strives to provide comfort in times of parent/child separation


  • provides women with clothing, toiletries, transportation, food, and support as they are being released
  • ongoing assistance to help these women successfully re-enter society and become self-sufficient

Caregiver Family Support

  • support to diminish the stress of caring for children of an incarcerated parent
  • connects families with community-based resources to receive financial and child development assistance

Enrichment Activities for Children

  • provides educational and enrichment activities for at-risk children of mothers incarcerated at CCCf

Public Education and Advocacy

  • former FPP program participants speak about the barriers to parenting in prison and the unintended consequences of parental incarceration on children
  • With the help of Oregon State Senator, Michael Dembrow, introduced the Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents (SB241A) in the Oregon State Legislature’s 2017 legislative session.

How You Can Help

Donate to support the women, children, and families participating in the Family Preservation Project.

View a film showing of Brian Lindstrom’s award-winning film Mothering Inside, which chronicles the experiences of incarcerated women and their children as they participate in the Family Preservation Project.

Stay in touch with our program by following our Mothering Inside/Family Preservation Project Facebook Page, or by signing up for our YWCA Electronic Newsletter.

Audio: Executive Director Susan Stoltenberg on the Family Preservation Project

Family Preservation Project History & Impact

Program History

In March 2010, the Oregon Department of Corrections funded the Family Preservation Project (FPP) at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, in an effort to address the impact of incarceration on mothers and their families. FPP was a partnership between Portland Community College and the Oregon Department of Corrections. In 2014, the budget for FPP was cut and programming within the prison was discontinued.

In August 2015, Senate Bill 5507 passed allowing the Family Preservation Project to officially become a program of the YWCA of Greater Portland. Senate Bill 5507 included a $400,000 General Fund appropriation to the YWCA of Greater Portland to administer the program at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.


According to Miller’s relational developmental theory, women’s identity is rooted in her ability and motivation to form and maintain relationships with others, especially with family members. For incarcerated women, this means that reunification with their children and maintaining and on-going relationship with them while away provides one of the greatest motivations for rehabilitation.

“It was so important for my little girl to know that I had not abandoned her, that I loved her, and that I was still there for her.”

“Having the opportunity to be involved in this amazing program has meant so much to me! It’s provided such quality bonding time between my daughter and I, like nothing I’d get through those prison walls otherwise. They’ve given me hope that someday I will be able to have my baby back in my care. Also, to have emotional support from these women who really care has been a sanity saver!”

FPP Timeline



Mothering Inside

A Film by Brian Lindstrom

Mothering Inside follows the women and children of the Family Preservation Project (FPP) at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon over the course of a year. FPP works to re-establish healthy bonds between inmate moms and their children. Midway through filming, the Oregon Department of Corrections announced plans to cut FPP. After an intense public outcry, spurred in part by screenings of an earlier version of the film, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation that funds FPP for two years.

Like A Shield

A Film by Brian Lindstrom

Like a Shield features children that have participated in the Family Preservation Project. Highlights the unintended consequences of parental incarceration on children and why the Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents is needed to help address the trauma and negative health and social outcomes for children affected by parental incarceration.

Facts & Research

Over the past 30 years, incarceration rates for women across the United States have steadily increased. Between 1999 and 2004, Oregon ranked seventh in the nation in female prison population growth. Oregon state officials predicted an even greater increase in women entering the prison system with the passage of the 2008 Ballet Measure 57, a legislatively referred state statute that increased prison terms for individuals who were repeatedly convicted of specific drug and property crimes.

It is estimated that 80% of incarcerated women are mothers to children ages 0 – 18, most of whom resided with their children prior to their incarceration and will likely resume parenting roles once released. Separation due to incarceration can have a devastating impact on the family. Specifically, maternal incarceration can adversely affect the mother‐child relationship, children’s educational attainment, and children’s mental health. The risk for children’s behavioral and emotional difficulties can stem from feelings of guilt, shame, confusion, abandonment, and concern about their mother’s well‐being. Read more findings and research in Portland Community College’s final report.