In Georgia, more than 200,00 children are separated from their incarcerated parents.
In 1987, Sandra Barnhill left her job as a public interest attorney after becoming frustrated by the lack of support given to mothers sentenced to prison and to their children. She established the non-profit agency originally known as “Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers” or AIM. Later, programming was created to also support the families and caregivers left behind, and the name was changed to Foreverfamily to better reflect all those involved in raising children and the family unit in general.
Foreverfamily provides community service and skills-building programs for children; transportation to prisons for families; workshops and parenting information for parents, and support and practical assistance for caregivers.
Fulfilling a Vital Role
"I’ve worked with over 20,000 children… there is something healing about being with you mom and being close to her, and I don’t care where it is, in a prison, in the middle of the street, in the house. But there is something about the power of that love and that relationship that outweighs whatever physical environment you’re in. It’s transformative for the kids and for her because I think what happens is, in that place, in that time, kids know, without a shadow of a doubt, “Mommy didn’t abandon me. She didn’t forget about me, and most importantly, she still loves me.” And love is the most powerful and most healing force in this universe. I believe that. I really do."
Sandra Barnhill oral history interview, August 7, 2014