Micky Duxbury did a fabulous story on OaklandLocal.com about how a parent’s incarceration affects children, and what the community of Oakland, CA, is doing to help.
Duxbury focuses on Community Works, an Oakland nonprofit that started Project WHAT! in 2006 “to create programs and advocate for teens impacted by parents in prison. The youth are trained in team building, leadership skills and criminal justice advocacy.” They can join the organization’s speaker’s bureau, which has “reached more than 5,500 people in 14 California counties and seven states.”
Teens face unique challenges, according to “Children on the Outside: Voicing the Pain and Costs of Parental Incarceration,” a Justice Strategies report published in 2011. Like other children of incarcerated parents, they often face
separation from siblings, having to move from place to place and increased poverty. Teens have an increased risk of delinquent behavior and an increased likelihood of school failure along with a sense of stigma and shame that impacts on their sense of who they are in the world.
Thousands of Oakland’s youth have been affected by having parents in prison or jails. However, there is no data on how many youth have been impacted because neither the Alameda County Probation Department nor the Sheriff’s Department has been required by law to track this information. The probation department is currently developing a Family Impact Statement in collaboration with Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents that will create a clearer picture of the needs of the family left behind.
The CDC’s ACE Study included incarceration as one of the ten types of adverse childhood experiences that can result in adult onset of chronic disease, as well as social and emotional problems, including risk of violence or being a victim of violence. As you’ll see from Duxbury’s post, having a parent in prison usually accompanies other childhood traumas. It’s well worth a read.
A NEW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS organization, Every Fourth Woman, is looking for art and poetry from domestic violence survivors for an art exhibit beginning in October at the California Museum in Sacramento, according to this post by Annie Hart on examiner.com. Submissions are due July 30.
CHILD ABUSE OR ENTERTAINMENT? Foxnews.com posted a YouTube video showing a six-year-old child
mimicking sex with a bikini-clad woman, and a poll asking viewers if they thought it was child abuse. At this writing, 5,000 or nearly 70% said yes. That’s a good thing.