Children of Incarcerated Parents

Screenshot 2014-06-19 15.19.51On any given day, close to 2.7 million children, or 1 in 28, have a parent in prison or jail—an increase of more than 80 percent since 1991. For African-American children, the rate is 1 in 9. The arrest and incarceration of a parent can have significant consequences for a child’s well-being. Though each family’s experience is unique, many families struggle to cope with the sudden loss of the incarcerated parent’s income and the costs related to incarceration. Children of incarcerated parents may also face increased risk of homelessness, household disruption, problems at school, and behavioral and emotional difficulties, including depression, fear for their incarcerated parent, confusion, and anger towards the criminal justice system. Despite the strength and resilience of many children, the shame and stigma associated with incarceration may cause these children to feel isolated and alone. Reentry Council agencies are putting strategies in place to ensure that children of incarcerated parents’ chances for success are not negatively impacted by their parent’s incarceration.

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