Agency in the Spotlight: Department of Corrections’ Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day

children petting a dog
Children of employees of the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, Wash. pet a dog in the prison’s animal adoption program.

The Washington State Department of Corrections is one of several companies that participate in the annual “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” This article was originally published on www.doc.wa.gov in October, 2018.

By DOC Communications

GIG HARBOR – The pilot program for the original take your child to work day was in April 1993 and began as an opportunity for girls to see a parent in a career pathway. It has since evolved and now includes all children. The day is meant to be more than a career day, and provide parents the opportunity to mentor their children and share with them what they do every day.

Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) began participating with a take your child to work day program in 2001. At first, there were concerns about bringing children to a prison, but over the past 17 years those fears have subsided and shown what a great opportunity it has been for their facility’s team and families. Additionally, family support programs for the incarcerated women at WCCW are well established. Some of the programs include Girl Scouts Behind BarsResidential Parenting Program link to YouTube video, and Strength in Families to name a few.

This year, 51 children, spanning ages from 5-18, came to the prison for the annual event. The children were provided a variety of activities over the course of the day. Upon arrival, the children were photographed for their identification badges. Then they were allowed to safely try out some of the emergency management and security tools utilized by the staff. There was even an Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray demonstration using water.

The families were shown defense tactics demonstrations as well as how staff ensure safety for the facility. The older youth were then given an extensive tour while the younger kids stayed back to complete art boxes and explore the emergency vehicle.

After a filling lunch, the children were brought back together to learn about the facility’s pet training program, sustainability initiatives, and The IF Project.

Custody Unit Supervisor Ed Schulze brought his two children who have been participating in the event for 10 years. According to his 16 year old daughter, “Every year there is something different. Also, my dad has done crisis negotiation for a while now, so it was cool to see some of the equipment.”

Schulze’s 15 year old son likes the event because, “I like to spend time with my dad. To see what kind of atmosphere he works in. I like seeing the new place my dad works and seeing how many younger kids are now participating.”

As for Schulze, “I get to spend time with them. They get an opportunity to see how security impacts my decision making.”

Counselor Jessica Poston has been a participant alongside her teen daughter for many years. She believes it is important to show her daughter how to respectfully interact with anyone including those who are incarcerated. “We are not here to judge people. We work hard to change people for the better.” Poston has worked at WCCW since 2001. “This is great for teambuilding for all the staff. We are raising our kids together.”