Innovative Solutions for Inmate Families

Piloting AFOI's Milk and Cookies Program

Innovative Solutions for Inmate Families

Piloting AFOI's Milk and Cookies Program

Assisting Families of Inmates (AFOI) is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of incarcerated individuals and their families. Hofbauer Consulting’s partnership with AFOI began with building, testing, and piloting the learning management system that supports their “Milk and Cookies” program.

AFOI’s Mission
We give families opportunities to connect and strengthen bonds with their loved ones who are incarcerated

The Milk & Cookies (MAC) program enrolls approximately 100 elementary school students across 7 schools in Richmond. The MAC courses focus on managing grief, celebrating self-worth, and developing soft skills and self-esteem. The MAC learning management system allows students and their incarcerated caregivers to work through these topics together, facilitating a unique opportunity for connection and growth despite the physical separation caused by the caregiver’s incarceration. The “Milk and Cookies” program is the digital part of a multifaceted partnership with the Virginia Correctional Center for Women (VCCW) that also provides children and caregivers with a healing and soothing space to reconnect and spend quality time together.

Rapid Response to Meet Rigorous Requirements: Piloting a New Approach to Post-Incarceration Family Reunification

Hofbauer Consulting’s support for the Milk and Cookies program was pivotal following initial challenges with the previous vendor. With just over a month left before the pilot was set to launch, the team dove in to craft a customized learning management system (LMS) tailored to the program’s unique needs.

The technical requirements were intricate, demanding a responsive interface on all devices, including outdated systems and browsers. Moreover, the LMS had to monitor progress both online and offline, manage multiple course versions for diverse age groups, and integrate unique quiz interfaces within a storybook narrative.

In addition, AFOI and the VCCW had unique KPI’s that the system needed to automatically track and generate custom reports for program management and grant reporting. Despite the complexity, Hofbauer Consulting’s timely intervention and meticulous attention to detail exceeded expectations. Through collaborative efforts, they effectively addressed the requirements, setting the stage for a successful launch.

Powering “Milk and Cookies” with an Interactive, Easy-to-Use LMS and Tailored Data Insights

To tackle these requirements, Hofbauer Consulting developed a custom learning management system deployed on the WordPress platform. This system not only orchestrated the seamless delivery of xAPI-compliant content, but also ensured the interactive, storybook experiences designed for children captured data and created for custom reports tailored to the needs of grown-ups and grant requirements.

The system also supported scheduling content releases, allowing participants to revisit completed content. Most notably, the system was responsive and performant regardless of device and bandwidth constraints and built to scale to meet the statewide demand AFOI envisions for the program.

Collaborative Solutions Under Time Constraints: Overcoming Complex Content Challenges for the Milk and Cookies Program’s Successful Launch

Implementation of this solution involved close partnership with the content specialists, Yukon Learning, under a tight timeline. The most significant roadblock AFOI encountered that the previous vendor wasn’t able to overcome was the complex content interactions and data tracking requirements. To overcome this hurdle and ensure interactions were smooth, user-friendly, and tracked accurately Hofbauer Consulting supported the Yukon Team and the MAC project with extensive testing for each of the elearning modules.

Thanks to Hofbauer Consulting’s swift and comprehensive approach, the Milk and Cookies program successfully launched on time with a robust and finely tailored LMS in place. Moreover, they also helped the client choose cost-effective devices for program participants, ensuring a delightful experience for users and saving the program thousands of dollars.

Building Stronger Bonds with the Milk and Cookies and Family Reunification Program Pilot

The Milk and Cookies and Family Reunification House pilot launched in 2023, with 30 participants that quickly grew to 100. The program has helped foster bonding between incarcerated mothers and their children, equipping them with essential life skills, and providing a safe and supportive learning environment. The success of the Milk and Cookies online learning platform has been marked by hearts that have been touched, consistent participation, minimal technical issues, and the invaluable data collected for program evaluation.

Hofbauer Consulting’s Ongoing Support for AFOI’s Milk and Cookies Pioneering Reentry Program

Hofbauer Consulting continues to support AFOI and Milk and Cookies pilot with secure hosting, user management, technical support, as well as continually improving the learning experience. As the program continues and expands, we will be there to adapt and scale the platform. The collaboration between Hofbauer Consulting and AFOI is an inspiring case study on how technology can be leveraged to support reentry and post-incarceration reunification with family.