MADISON, Wis. -

Dane County deputies know it's never easy for children to visit their parents in jail -- especially around Christmas.

As part of the sheriff department's "Books and Bears" program, all kids who visited the jail around Christmas Eve received a new book and a stuffed animal.

The intention is to give kids a positive interaction with officers, while also brightening the holidays for families going through a difficult time, according to sheriff’s officials.

The effort is led by Deputy Darlynn Brown, who has been conducting the program for 15 years.

The program is funded through community donations.