What Educators and Schools Need to Know When Working with Children with Incarcerated Parents

Dillard, M. A.
Resource Guide
Year Published: Not Dated
Hope House
Soros Justice Fellowship Program of the Open Society Institute

In this eight-page Resource Guide, the author addresses the unique issues faced by children of incarcerated parents, and how they affect children's ability to function in school. The author begins by presenting statistics on children of incarcerated parents, as well as the separation trauma they experience as a result. The experience of living with a caregiver is also addressed. The author describes the recent surge in interest in incarcerated parents and their children. The school setting, asserts the author, provides a unique opportunity to identify and reach out to this at-risk population. She explains that children who cope effectively with a separation from a parent often rely on support from a caring adult, such as a teacher. Educators can also remediate specific areas of vulnerability, and provide hope to children and their families. The author also points out that the promotion of self-esteem and self-efficacy may be the key to effective intervention for high-risk adolescents. Finally, students who can identify one trustworthy and admirable adult in their lives are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. As a result, the author encourages teachers and administrators to make a difference in the classroom, providing advice for educating, self-examining, and supporting students. She provides suggestions for how educators can make a difference in the lives of children of incarcerated parents, and concludes by explaining why educators should care so strongly about this subject. Contact information for additional resources is included.

Hope House, Post Office Box 60682, Washington, DC 20039; Telephone: (202) 545-9671, <http://www.hopehousedc.org>
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