When Parents Go to Jail, Children Suffer
Monday, April 25, 2016
HARTFORD, Conn. – Thousands of children have experienced one or both parents serving time in prison and a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at the negative effects on the lives of these children and what can be done to lessen them.
More than 5 million American children, including 36,000 in Connecticut, have seen a parent they live with go to jail or prison.
According to Scot Spencer, the Casey Foundation’s associate director for advocacy and influence, the impact on a child can be devastating.
"Having a parent incarcerated can be a lifelong experience,” he states. “It has the same magnitude of impact as abuse, domestic violence and divorce."
The Casey Foundation's report, "A Shared Silence," outlines policy recommendations to help children and parents cope with incarceration, and with reintegration as a family after a release from prison.
Roger Senserrich, policy director at the Connecticut Association for Human Services, says there are some simple steps Connecticut could take to help children of incarcerated parents.
Right now, he explains, visiting hours are during the school day, and prisons have a no contact rule.
"Even small kids cannot hug their parents or their mothers when they visit,” he explains. “So, these kinds of changes are small but can be really powerful, and they can really improve the bond that parents develop with their kids."
The Casey Foundation says schools, child welfare agencies and community organizations can help by offering programs that foster children's mental health and well being.
Passing the ban the box bill now in the General Assembly would help parents provide for their families after their release.
As Spencer points out, other states have passed similar laws removing questions about criminal convictions from employment applications.
"They defer the question about a person's record to the conditional employment stage, so that they have more stable footing to be able to apply for the job and qualify for the job," he explains.
get more stories like this via email
DENVER - On Wednesday, leaders from Colorado's 13 community colleges joined a national effort to help more of the state's adults get credentials and …
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Today, a virtual summit hosted by the Las Vegas Mayor's Faith Initiative looks at the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous …
HOUSTON -- Many U.S. communities with bustling downtowns were better prepared to weather economic fallout from the pandemic, thanks to a decades-old …
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin group that advocates for working families is launching a new campaign, which connects federal policy to the …
SEATTLE - Constructive conversations online can seem few and far between. Research from the University of Washington explores how the design of …
Health and Wellness
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Advocates for Iowans with disabilities are sounding the alarm over what they describe as a caregiver crisis, pleading with …
BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water …
BOISE, Idaho - Millions of members around the world, including some Idahoans, are observing International Credit Union Day today. This year marks 73…