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Washington state has received a federal grant aimed at helping inmates with children prepare to transition back into their families after their release.

    

The five-year, $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was announced Thursday. The state Department of Corrections will use the grant to focus on inmates from three men's and two women's facilities in southwest Washington.

    

The agency estimates that at least 510 offenders and their families will be aided by the program.

    

The program requires all participants to complete two parenting courses, one before their release and another afterward. It also will help inmates maintain family contact while their still in prison, both through video and in-person visits. Participants will also complete a job-seeking skills program before they are released.

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