Judi Goozh and Sue Jeweler

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1 Judi Goozh and Sue Jeweler

2 STATISTICS According to a Department of Justice report from the year 2007, 2.3 percent of children in the United States (nearly 1.7 million children) had an incarcerated parent. 22 % of these children are under 5 years old. At least 1 in 50 children had a parent incarcerated in local or county facilities.

3 On any given day more than 7 million children may have a parent in prison or jail or under parole or probation supervision. Disparate impact on minorities: African American children are almost 9 times more likely to have a parent in prison. Hispanic children are 3 times more likely. Different racial and ethnic groups view this experience differently. Immigrants have an entirely different attitude toward the criminal justice system and the police in particular. Many immigrants have a high level of fear regarding the police.

4 About 2/3 of teens whose mothers have arrest histories also have fathers with arrest histories. 1 out of every 10 children with an incarcerated mother ends up in foster care. Without effective intervention strategies, as many as 70 percent of children of incarcerated parents may become involved with the criminal justice system.

5 CHILDREN WITH AN INCARCERATED PARENT ARE IMPACTED: SOCIALLY (acting out behaviors, friendship problems, communication) EMOTIONALLY (depression, anger, confusion, feelings of abandonment) ACADEMICALLY (attention, concentration, learning issues, poor grades)

6 CHILDREN WHOSE PARENTS ARE INCARCERATED REACT WITH: LONELINESS FEAR DEVELOPMENTAL REGRESSION GUILT EXCESSIVE CRYING AND SADNESS ANGER DISOBEDIENCE

7 Impact on the Family SOCIAL STIGMA LOSS OF INCOME LOSS OF FAMILY HOME DIVIDED LOYALTY LACK OF RESOURCES

8 The greatest predictor of anti-social behavior is not due as much to the separation from the parent, but rather the home environment and the influence of the remaining parent. Supporting the parent should be one of our primary goals when possible.

9 Many adults do not tell the child the truth about what the parent did or where the parent is. Instead, they give themselves and the child socially acceptable explanations. Research indicates that if children are told about the incarceration in an age appropriate manner and in an open and honest way, they were more likely to react with loneliness then with anger.

10 IMPACT ON SCHOOL Young children tend to withdraw and show anxiety, anger or hostility towards caregivers. Older children often exhibit school difficulties and problems with peers. Unless the parent or grandparent tells the school that a family member is incarcerated, the only way the school knows would be through overhearing other kids or the child telling the teacher or at an Individualized Education Program meeting.

11 IMPACT OF PRISON VISITS ON CHILDREN Without visits, the children may believe the parent no longer loves them or cares about them. Some research says that visiting increases the likelihood that the relationship will survive when the parent is released. Some feel visiting a parent in jail is too traumatic. Immediately following a visit, children may be sad, tired, tearful or engage in aggressive behavior.

12 COMING HOME Re-entering into a family after being in jail or prison is a huge hurdle for families to overcome. Often a single counselor or parole officer works with the offender for practical things like food stamps, job resumes, drivers license but, more likely then not, there is almost no attention paid to this reintegration.

13 IMPACT ON AGENCIES Lack of coordination of both services and programs available to these families. Staff may or may not have any experience with the unique problems associated with having an incarcerated family member.

14 WHAT CAN YOU DO?

15 Re-think our own preconceived ideas and stereotypical attitudes about crime, the incarcerated parent, the family, and the idea that the child now will probably follow in this downward path. Educate others. Be compassionate. Help break the cycle do not assume nothing can be done.

16 Make sure that children who have an incarcerated parent are properly assessed and supported. Give appropriate support during the initial period of adjustment and throughout the process of reunification. Prompt open discussions with either the parent or the child in a safe, caring, and confidential way and have the child or parent talk about their experiences, and help them to deal with the emotions and consequences that follow incarceration.

17 Encourage the parent to come to the school to tell the counselor, the principal, the teacher or the case manager that her spouse has been arrested. In addition, it is important to get the parent to give permission to talk to the child. Encourage and investigate cross collaboration among different agencies in the community such as social service providers, pediatricians, other mental health agencies.

18

19 CREATIVE FAMILY PROJECTS, LLC Thinking Outside the Box A Program of Family Services, Inc. VISIT OUR WEBSITE CONTACT US: Creative Family Projects, LLC 402 King Farm Blvd. # Rockville, Maryland

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