Since the inception of the organization, Derek and Jessica have dedicated their lives to supporting children and families affected by the justice system. Prior to founding KIP Canada, Jessica Reid earned a Psychology degree from Trent University and worked with children and adolescents in several educational and mental health capacities while Derek Reid, a graduate of Western University, worked in the financial industry. During the summer of 2011, Jessica witnessed the devastating impact of parental incarceration on children in her role as an early educator. It was through this experience that she developed a passion for supporting these innocent victims and improving the lives of those affected by parental imprisonment.
For 24 years, our founder Jessica Reid was separated from her father, Derek Reid. As an adult, Jessica began the journey of locating her father. In June 2011, Jessica united with Derek for the first time. Although Derek and Jessica were not apart due to incarceration, the impact of being separated from each other coupled with the lack of resources available for children of incarcerated parents propelled their passion to develop a non-profit organization. As a result, Derek and Jessica founded Fostering, Empowering, Advocating, Together (FEAT) in August 2011.
Subsequently, Jessica has earned her Master’s and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Family Relations and Human Development at the University of Guelph. To date, Jessica’s research has focused on understanding the impact of parental incarceration on developmental outcomes and resilience in children and youth with incarcerated parents. Jessica is also a proud member of the Canadian Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents and a director on the board for the International Coalition for Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Derek and Jessica are committed to educating the public on the needs of children of incarcerated parents as professional speakers at universities, conferences and in the community as well as advocating for policy changes and improving access to supportive services across the country to support these innocent children left behind and help break the cycle of crime.