For immediate release: May 19, 2022
New Resource for Supporting Children Who Have a Parent Incarcerated
Guide offers tips, resources, and conversation starters for parents, caregivers, and community members
Louisville, KY — Today, Kentucky Youth Advocates and the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation released a new guide that offers tips, resources, and conversation starters for parents, caregivers, and caring community members to consider for supporting children who have a parent incarcerated. Through interviews, focus groups, and surveys, the Guide for Supporting Children Who Have a Parent Incarcerated was created with firsthand experience of children and families in mind.
“In 2018, the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation (KSWF) chose to focus its grantmaking efforts on children of incarcerated parents. As we learned more about the large percentage of children in Kentucky that were affected, we knew we wanted to make as big an impact as we could,” said Anne W. Eason, Chairperson, Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation. “Through our collaboration with Kentucky Youth Advocates, we have witnessed the interest, dedication, and commitment to action on the part of numerous community groups and individuals striving to make life better for these children and their families. It is our sincere hope that this guide will be a timely and useful tool that will be available for all who are interested in or affected by parental incarceration and its effects on the children of our Commonwealth.”
With the support of community partners and justice advocates across the Commonwealth, KYA and KSWF received insight from kinship caregivers, young people, and people who are formerly incarcerated to help normalize children’s experiences and provide tangible tips and suggestions for the adults in their lives about how to better provide support. The guide is not intended to be a definitive or exhaustive resource; instead, it is a quick, approachable document that adults, both incarcerated and not, can use to help their children in supportive and healthy ways.
“Correctional facilities and county jails across Kentucky have developed and implemented many programs to help incarcerated citizens stay connected and learn how to reconnect with their children and families during incarceration. While Kentucky facilities are continually expanding their program catalogs with evidence-based programs that address many barriers, their focus on the importance of family relationships have not been forgotten. A united family can be one of the strongest tools in the fight against recidivism,” said Captain Douglas Miles, Reentry Services Coordinator, Warren County Regional Jail.
The traumatic experiences of young people who have a parent incarcerated are all too often overlooked or misunderstood. Whether they live with their other parent at home or with a kinship or fictive kin caregiver, the adults in a young person’s life—in schools, within the justice system, and other caring community leaders—can play a role in supporting their ability to weather the hardships that come with parental incarceration and nurturing their ability to thrive.
“In Kentucky, more than one in 10 children have had a parent separated from them due to incarceration—an Adverse Childhood Experience that has been referred to as a ‘shared sentence’ due to the short and long-term effects it has on a child’s well-being and behavioral, educational, and health outcomes. This new guide serves as a resource for families and jails to utilize while experiencing incarceration. It also gives the community and policymakers an insight into the complex impacts of incarceration – and the urgent need for a justice system that promotes accountability and rehabilitation while minimizing the impacts on children,” said Terry Brooks, executive director, Kentucky Youth Advocates.
Kentucky Youth Advocates thanks our community partners for their assistance with this project, including the Wanda Joyce Robinson Foundation, Louisville Family Justice Advocates, Y-NOW, and REACH program.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.
About the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation
The Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, established in 1948, awards grants to organizations throughout the Commonwealth, with special consideration given to small-budget organizations striving to improve the quality of life for vulnerable Kentuckians residing in small communities and rural areas. Learn more at www.kswf.org.