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The Family Connections Center

The History

To meet the need of supporting incarcerated families in New Hampshire, the Family Connections Center was created in 1998 at the Lakes Region Facility in Laconia, NH. At that time, this State Prison was a co-ed medium and minimum-security prison. The initial family support program was created as a partnership with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Family Studies Department. The Center has remained a part of the NH Department of Corrections since its inception. The Family Connections Center started with one DOC employee and a small donation and has grown to encompass all three NH State Prisons and minimum security units.

(Left) Photos of The FCC at the now closed Lakes Region Facility
playroom playroom play yard

The Family Connections Center (FCC) has formed additional collaborations with many community agencies and programs to expand to other correctional facilities. In 2004, the female inmates were moved from Laconia to the Shea Farm minimum security unit and halfway house. FCC partnered with Child and Family Services in 2005 to bring programming for the mothers housed at Shea Farm. FCC had partnered with UNH Cooperative Extension to teach parenting education classes at the NH Correctional Facility for Women.

In 2006, FCC partnered with Child and Family Services of NH to collaborate on a grant from the Federal government for a Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Initiative. This partnership has allowed FCC to expand programming to the NH State Prison for men in Concord, NH and the Northern NH Correctional Facility in Berlin, NH. This initiative supported families affected by incarceration through support, referrals, relationship classes and family re-entry planning available to eligible incarcerated fathers and their partners.

The FCC at the Northern NH Correctional Facility opened in 2008 with one state employee and one part-time grant employee. At this time, the Family Connections Center started providing internet video visits via Skype between incarcerated fathers and their children.

In June 2009, the Lakes Region Facility in Laconia was closed. This ended the semi-private program visits and dispersed staff to the Concord and Berlin facilities. In 2011, the 5-year Federal grant expired, but the infrastructure remained, thus the Family Connections Center was able to continue at the Concord and Berlin Prisons on a limited scale.

In 2011, large donations from private citizens helped renovate a space in old Canteen for a Family Connections Center, prior to this, FCC had one office and borrowed space from other programs.

Child and Family Service's Camp Spaulding partnered with the FCC in 2012 to create a Children of Incarcerated Parents (CIP) summer camp. Children whose father was an active member of the FCC can attend two weeks at Camp Spaulding in Penacook and then the children came into the prison to visit with their father for two of those days. The families had fun sharing meals, participating in skits and working on a life-sized mural titled "A Perfect Day with Dad". In 2013, the CIP program expanded to include the mothers at the NH Correctional Facility for Women. In 2015, FCC hosted our 4th annual CIP camp for incarcerated fathers and the 3rd annula CIP camp for incarcerated mothers. All costs for the CIP program are donated by private citizens and organizations.

Currently, the Family Connections Center has four full-time State employees and multipe part-time employees paid under various small grants and donations. Volunteers and interns help keep the Family Connections Center running into the evening hours to provide services when the children are home from school.


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