Pathfinders of Oregon is a 501 (c) (3) social service agency founded in 1993 with a mission to break the cycle of criminality. We accomplish our mission through prevention and intervention focused on high risk individuals, families and children. We:
- Provide cognitive-based programs, education and supportive services for pro-social living to adults in the Oregon prison system and to children and families in the community;
- Create and disseminate evidence based curricula and programs;
- Build community and create systems change to focus resources on addressing the full spectrum of social factors impacting the health of individuals and communities.
Our vision for change is that clients who emerge from our programs and services are living crime-free lives and prospering as accountable citizens of their communities.
Over the past 20 years, our focus has expanded from offering cognitive restructuring programs for the Oregon Department of Corrections to changing the way systems interact with and impact children, families and individuals through developing and using evidence-based programs and practices. Our major programs are Corrections, the Children’s Justice Alliance, the Center for Family Success, and Upstream Youth Violence Prevention.
Pathfinders began operations in 1993, with the development of a cognitive restructuring program for the Oregon Department of Corrections. In 2001, Pathfinders participated with ODOC and the Oregon Social Learning Center in the piloting of the Parenting Inside Out program, a cognitive- behavioral parenting skills program for incarcerated parents. Since 1993, Pathfinders has provided services to more than 30,000 Oregon inmates, including 3,500 female inmates.
In 1999, Pathfinders opened its alternative school for pregnant and or parenting teens, the Pathfinder Academy, an accredited alternative school, with funding from Portland Public Schools. The Pathfinder Academy’s programs allowed teen parents to obtain a GED and develop the skills to pursue post-secondary education or job training. The Academy served more than one thousand young moms, dads, and children in its 14 years of operation. Due to changes in Oregon’s GED requirements, Pathfinders made the decision to close the Academy in December 2013.
In 2003, Pathfinders played a key role in forming the Children’s Justice Alliance to look at all the systems that touch a child when his or her parent is incarcerated and to develop a model to best serve the children. Out of that work came the Center for Family Success where families with involvement in the criminal justice system can come for services and programs to help children and parents succeed. Since its inception, Pathfinders has been the service delivery agent for all programs and services at the Center. The Children’s Justice Alliance and Pathfinders of Oregon merged in 2011 and the Children’s Justice Alliance became a program of Pathfinders.
Pathfinders has provided parenting training to over 1,000 criminal justice involved clients of the Department of Human Services and the Center serves more than 400 families a year. Through the Children’s Justice Alliance, eleven Oregon counties were trained to recognize and address the issues impacting children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system.
In 2011, Pathfinders began a collaborative process to develop a comprehensive community based model to strengthen families, reduce youth violence, increase graduation rates and keep young people out of the justice system. The project is focused on the Rockwood area of East Multnomah County, which has the highest rates of crime, gang activity, poverty and unemployment in the city. Along with public and private partners, we are creating a community-based system of services to support youth at risk for violence and their families.