Look Up and Hope

Look Up and Hope: Strengthening Families Affected by Incarceration

Volunteers of America uses a holistic and research-based approach to break the cycles of poverty and incarceration.This national program is designed to support the long-term success of children and their incarcerated parent. Look Up and Hope and its partner congregations and organizations offer prisoners, their children, and the children's caregivers a comprehensive array of coordinated, support services.

Look Up and Hope is highlighted as an evidence-based best practice in Annie E. Casey's Kids Count Policy Report from 2014. This inclusion is based on our most recent data analysis that demonstrated elevated effectiveness for families of color.

Participants of the Look Up and Hope Program


Volunteers of America helps families to create and maintain economic stability. We encourage and foster positive family relationships, provide emotional support for children who suffer from disruption caused by incarcerations, and support school success. In turn we hope to prevent juvenile delinquency, which often stems from the troubled environment caused by a parent's incarceration. We serve the whole family to create a collective healing process for everyone.

Our communities and the nation have a huge stake in the successful reentry of incarcerated mothers after they serve their sentences. These mothers, along with their children and caregivers, are our neighbors. We provide a network of stability and reduce the rate of recidivism by helping the previously incarcerated become healthy, contributing members of society. Through these efforts, children can find another path and reduce the probability that children with incarcerated parents may enter the criminal justice system.


  • Vocational training and employment services
  • Educational programming and support for all family members
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Group and family counseling
  • Life-skills and parenting classes
  • Caregiver support groups
  • Graduated visitation opportunities
  • Family-centered assessments
  • Strengths-based service planning
  • Mentoring
When I started with Volunteers of America, it felt like someone giving me a big hug in the midst of what was going on. They really changed my life and helped me to stay positive and on top of things.
- Look Up & Hope Caregiver