In 1986, Sister Teresa “Tesa" Fitzgerald developed a home for children whose mothers were in prison. Recognizing the struggles of these women to get back on their feet, Sister Tesa helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community, reunify with their families, and build healthy, independent, and secure lives. In 1992, Hour Children was officially started to carry on that mission.
The name was inspired by the key hours that impact the life of a child with an imprisoned mother: the hour of her arrest, the hour of their prison visit, and the hour she finally arrives home.
Teresa and her team work endlessly to provide education and advocacy for women still in prison, along with transportation and other resources for children to facilitate visitation. An overlooked challenge is how pregnant women in the prison system tend to their new born baby. Hour Children operates the Nursery inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where mothers can live with their infants for up to 18 months, providing infants born during their mother’s incarceration with critical bonding time with their mother. During the day, while mothers are attending school, mandated programs, or working, the infants are cared for in the Child Development Center, which is staffed by Hour Children employees and women who are incarcerated at the facility.