Abounding Needs: Children of Incarcerated Parents

1599 words 7 pages
Incarceration has become a norm in our society. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that prison population exceeded a record-breaking 2 million last year. Considering higher rates of incarceration, we can easily deduce that more parents are incarcerated now than ever before. The children of these parents are undoubtedly affected. Sadly, these children are often considered a collective group with a particular set of needs-- that is, basic needs like food, clothing and shelter (Johnson and Waldfogel, 2002). However, each child of an incarcerated parent has emotional and psychological needs specific to his/her situation that must be met. Meeting these needs will help ensure positive growth and development.

Many factors must be considered
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The money that the U.S. Congress devotes to funding mentoring programs for children with incarcerated parents should be used, instead, to establish parent-child visitation programs in all correctional facilities.

2. We can keep more parents out of the prison system and in the homes with their children by offering more alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders.

3. When incarceration is necessary, those who care for children with incarcerated parents

should be guaranteed financial assistance in providing for the basic needs of those children.

4. Children with incarcerated parents should be given periodic evaluations. Each state's child welfare department should track the children's emotional, physical and educational status. Free counseling services should be offered to the children and their caregivers.

The proposed parent-child visitation programs will allow all parents who have not been

convicted of crimes outlined by their state's Adoption and Safe Families mandates to visit with their children twice a week in a designated child-friendly atmosphere within the correctional facility. The visitation rooms should only be used for inmates participating in the visitation program. Inmates will be counseled on how to maintain and