Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 25, 2018 


President Trump scraps planned talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Also on our Friday rundown: California lawmakers support and emergency hotline for foster kids; and boating is a booming business in states like Minnesota.

Daily Newscasts

Helping Children Who Have Parent in Prison

About 88,000 children in Wisconsin have a parent who has served time in prison. A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation points out some of the drastic effects this has on the children and their families. (zudin/iStockPhoto.com)
About 88,000 children in Wisconsin have a parent who has served time in prison. A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation points out some of the drastic effects this has on the children and their families. (zudin/iStockPhoto.com)
April 25, 2016

MADISON, Wis. – A report just released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows more than 5 million children in the United States have a parent who is serving or has served time in prison.

The report points out the devastating affect this has on the child and the family, and suggests ways to minimize the impact.

Wenona Wolf, communications and development manager for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, says Wisconsin spends a great deal more on corrections than neighboring states such as Minnesota.

"Right now taxpayers in Wisconsin are spending $1.5 billion each year on corrections,” she states. “That is not only a lot of money but it is also limiting our ability to invest in programs like education, workforce development and health care."

Wolf says when one parent is incarcerated, it takes a toll on the entire family, through loss of income, which affects the family's ability to pay for basics such as food and rent.

Scot Spencer, the Casey Foundation’s associate director for advocacy and influence, says state and local governments should step in and not only provide support for such families, but should focus on treatment rather than incarceration.

"As much as we may focus on the issue of changing incarceration laws, while we're doing that we also look for ways to be supportive of the children and the families who are left behind during that incarceration period," he stresses.

Wolf says Wisconsin, which has 88,000 children with a parent who has served time, should be helping to ensure that children who are suffering the consequences of their parents' incarceration be provided with the stability and support they need to survive.

Spencer says another strategy is to increase the odds that parents returning from jail or prison are able to find and maintain family-supporting employment, and that states should suspend child-support orders while parents are in prison, so they don't accumulate crippling debt.

Wolf says Wisconsin should return 17-year-olds to the juvenile justice system where they can receive treatment rather than just incarceration.

And she points out Wisconsin's minority population is most severely impacted by the state's present laws.

"We lock up a larger share of our black and Native American males than any other state, so obviously this issue is really affecting communities of color more so here in Wisconsin and is putting kids of color at a greater disadvantage," she states.



Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI