Youth with Incarcerated Parents: An Introduction to the Issues
By Elizabeth I. Johnson, M.S., M.S.W.
The Prevention Researcher,
Volume 13, Number 2, 2006, Pages 3-6, Item# A132-JOHNSON
Parental incarceration is a large and growing problem in the United States that affects many children and families. Even conservative estimates of the number of parents in prison suggest that a substantial number of youth may experience parental incarceration and that professionals in a variety of social service settings are likely to encounter children and youth affected by parental incarceration.
Parental incarceration may have effects on children that are similar to other forms of separation from parents (e.g., divorce, death), but is unique in that it is highly stigmatized and many children and families affected by parental incarceration come from already disadvantaged backgrounds.
Although, as a group, children with incarcerated parents may be a particularly vulnerable population, not all youth will respond similarly to the experience of parental incarceration and a number of factors may influence how they fare during and after the parent's incarceration.
Research in this area has been relatively limited, and developing a more solid empirical base of knowledge is vital to developing and refining programs and policies for youth who experience the incarceration of a parent.
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This article can be found in the issue:
The Prevention Researcher,
Volume 13, Number 2, 2006
In 1997, roughly 2 in every 100 U.S. children had a parent in prison. However, this number misses those youth whose parent is in jail or is on probation or parole. Incarceration rates have increased fourfold in the past 30 years, and those who are incarcerated are serving longer sentences (and thus are removed from their families for longer periods of time). This issue of The Prevention Researcher focuses on parental incarceration and reentry, and examines ways that those who work with youth may assist them through this difficult time.
This issue also featured these articles:
- After Incarceration: Adolescent-Parent Reunification, Pages 18-20
- Providing Support to Adolescent Children with Incarcerated Parents, Pages 7-10
- Resilience of Girls with Incarcerated Mothers: The Impact of Girl Scouts, Pages 11-14
- Rights and Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents, Pages 15-17
- Youth with Incarcerated Parents: An Introduction to the Issues, Pages 3-6
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