15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
Dee Ann Newell
Centers for Youth and Families
5905 Forest Place
Little Rock, AR 72207
Dee Ann Newell advocates consistently and tirelessly in Arkansas on behalf of incarcerated parents and their children. Instrumental in developing a program to teach parenting education to female prisoners in 1991, she subsequently was awarded a grant from the Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections. Of the five grants awarded, the National Council of Crime and Delinquency named the Arkansas program as the most promising. During this period, the Division of Children and Family Services of the Department of Human Services came to value and to fund parenting classes at both the women's prison and subsequently at two men's units.
Ms. Newell also developed and facilitated a pilot program of support groups for kinship caregivers. As these direct services developed, advocacy efforts and public awareness emerged as important components of the overall services. This led to support on the part of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services, of Ms. Newell's effort to establish Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind. The mission of this nonprofit group is to advocate and reform policies that have an impact on children of prisoners and their families. Supported by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Arkansas Voices is directed by family members and adult children of prisoners, former incarcerated parents, and advocates. Arkansas Voices initiated the first State legislation for services for these families, which was passed unanimously in the 2003 legislative session.
A presenter at several national conferences, Dee Ann Newell was awarded the 2004 Public Citizen Award by the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She is married to Frank B. Newell and the mother of two adult children.