IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER WHO COULD USE OUR HELP
No matter how much you want to “get your loved one into Hearken House Ministry they must be the ones to ask us for help. We do not accept third-party requests for admissions. You may contact us with questions and facilitate their transportation, but an individual who is pressured to come in is unlikely to be accepted. They must show their own commitment to be admitted.
If your loved one is in jail, they may write us and ask for an interview. If your loved one is out of jail, they must come to our campus, sit on our bench, and ask for an interview. They need not bring anything except a deep desire to change. If accepted, we will admit them immediately. This process can take several hours. There is an individualized deliberation process for each applicant.
IF YOUR FAMILY MEMBER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED AND IS BEING RELEASED FROM JAIL
A helpful family member can facilitate the loved one’s admission to Hearken House by providing transportation and strict compliance with our procedure. Please know that any variance from our procedure may jeopardize the candidate’s admission. After our interview process is complete, we shall notify the family member of our decision to either admission or decline to admit the candidate.
If your family member has received a letter of acceptance from Hearken House Ministry after their jail interview, they may proceed to Hearken House for their second interview. No recollections of comments or promises from the jail interview will substitute for the letter. After the candidate receives the letter and upon release from jail, they must report directly and immediately to Hearken House Ministry. If the candidate fails to report immediately to Hearken House upon release, we are likely to reject them when they arrive.
Once the candidate arrives at the Hearken House Ministry, we interview them a second time. If the candidate is late, dishonest, or has experienced significantly changed circumstances since the jail interview, they may be denied admission. At this time, all outstanding legal charges should be resolved.
ONCE YOUR FAMILY MEMBER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED INTO THE PROGRAM
For the first 60 days, our students need to connect with their fellow students and orient themselves to the routine of Hearken House Ministry. Accordingly, we limit all outside distractions. Students’ sole focus must be on changing their lives. Solving problems or maintaining relationships with those outside Hearken House Ministry is better accomplished when the student graduates from Hearken House with the skills necessary to navigate a successful, productive life.
After 30 days of successful participation, a student may be able to write to and receive letters from one approved family member. All correspondence will be monitored to ensure appropriate and healthy communication for the student.
We ask approved family members communicating with a student to follow these guidelines:
Focus on the now and the future. Students are not permitted to glorify or reminisce about their histories. Please keep communication positive and avoid attempting to resolve past conflicts.
Do not ask them to come home early. If you love them, you will encourage them to complete their 18 months stay. Anything you say to feed their impatience to be done more quickly will undermine their growth.
Avoid discussing how much kids, spouses, or parents need them. If you want your loved ones to return and be healthy, let them heal.
Don’t send pictures. Pictures are appropriate after some time in Hearken House, but too difficult to cope with emotionally at first.
After three months of demonstrated progress, a progressing student may place one 15-minute phone call once a month to the approved immediate family member. Again, this communication will be monitored. Students may earn the privilege of increasing the frequency of phone calls with time and continued progress.
IN-HOUSE FAMILY VISITS
After one year, the student may earn the privilege of an on-site monitored visit from up to four family members. Invited family members must be cleared with Hearken House Ministry faculty prior to arrival. Please do not bring any gifts, money, pictures, or anything to leave with the student. We ask visitors to carefully adhere to the communication guidelines above.
CONTACT WITH CHILDREN
After 6 months in counseling, a student may request contact with children. If approved, write an event plan and submit it to PA Counseling to be reviewed with your parole officer for approval.
CONTACT WITH SPOUSE
After 1 month, the student may be granted permission to communicate with their spouse (or significant other). If approved, the student may write, call or schedule an in-house visit.
After some months, the student may apply for a home visit at the home of the student’s primary caregiver. This visit will be chaperoned by another member of our community. Students are not permitted to see their spouse, significant other, children, or old friends.
The above time frames are guidelines, not commitments for familial communication. Loss of contact with your loved one can be difficult. However, ongoing destructive habits are more difficult. Please faithfully respect our communication rules and support the student to focus entirely on this healing process. Please trust that their long-term welfare is our highest concern and make it yours as well