Challenges abound for US kids who've had a parent in prison - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Challenges abound for US kids who've had a parent in prison


(AP) -- About 5 million children in the U.S. have had at least one parent in prison. The research organization Child Trends says that's about one in every 14 children. And the group says the number for black children in much higher -- about one in nine children.

   The report is based on data from the 2011-12 National Survey of Children's Health -- a phone survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that collected input from parents and other caregivers.

   Experts who study the children of inmates, or work with them, say parental incarceration is distinguished from other childhood woes by a mix of shame, stigma and trauma.

   Research indicates that many of these children face increased risk of problems with behavior, academics, self-esteem and substance abuse. And in some cases incarceration is passed from one generation to the next.

   Child Trends says prison systems, schools and communities could do more to support these children, including improving communications between parent and child, making prison visits less stressful, and educating school teachers on how they can help affected children overcome stigma.

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