Children of prisoners are often the ones that are forsaken. There is much to be said about how social services and our country can better accommodate their full range of needs. Statistics prove that mentorship is not enough to help them to overcome their vast needs mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Why Mentorship Alone Isn’t Sufficient For Children Of Prisoners.
Toni Johnson, a University of Kansas’s associate professor of social work, has discovered that the Social Service Organizations which provide services to the children of prisoners, don’t necessarily give these kids what’s most important to them. She, therefore, aims at improving services for the youths across the nation.
Johnson found that: although children of prisoners identified basic needs like food and housing as the most important, social service organizations rated mentoring services and mental health as the most important.
“America incarcerates more of its population than all other industrialized nations on Earth,” said Johnson said. “We might fail to realize it. But almost every American know somebody who’s been affected by his/her parent, being incarcerated. While we need to give children of prisoners their basic needs, we also have to think about their future.”
The Past and Future Statistics of Children of Prisoners
In state prison, only 12.3 percent of fathers and 14.6 percent of mothers reported personal visits from a child at least once a month. Fifty-nine percent of fathers and58 percent of mothers had no personal visits from any of their children.
In 1980 one in 120 children in America had a parent in prison. Today, it is 1 in 28 children, Johnson explains. Youths with at least one imprisoned parent are highly susceptible to social problems like poverty, mental health disorder, substance abuse, juvenile detention and school dropout. Today, federal efforts to assist children of prisoners have focused mainly on mentoring.
Children of Prisoners: No Child Left Alone
Johnson advocates for the setting of savings accounts for kids of prisoners with the aim of helping these youths reach college levels and escape poverty.
A study by Johnson’s partners’ in the K.U’s School of Social Welfare show that children from low-income families with savings are much likelier to attend college education than their peers who don’t have. The fact prevails irrespective of the littleness of the savings.
Johnson has presented the findings at the International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health. And she plans to continue availing her findings to the social work providers while she operates her project. Johnson’s dad was a bail bondsman, and that motivated her to get interested in families and children of prisoners. Throughout Johnson’s career, she has been a social work provider.
For instance, Dina’s parents were incarcerated for a very long time that she can’t even remember. Eventually, Dina with her brother were put in the foster care but later split up to two different families. While it was the worst experience for her, today she is happy that Johnson takes care of her. At first, Dina never felt like going to school, but with proper guidance from Johnson, she has majored in social work in KU.
“The only reason I stay motivated is that I don’t want to end up like my parents,” Dina says.
Johnson, therefore, hopes to work with kids of prisoners who’ve achieved successes like reaching college and graduating; to figure out how their experiences could assist younger youths in the similar circumstances. Johnson says she got this idea when she with her students visited women’s prison as part of their course work.
She insists: if not taken good care of:
“…these children experience more adverse effects than those whose parents have split because of divorce among other reasons.”
Other Interesting posts about children and families of prisoners:
Video: Children of Prisoners
Check out the video below. It contains some very interesting statistics and information on children of prisoners. This video was uploaded to YouTube by 6 News Lawrence: