Children with Incarcerated Parents and Incarcerated Youth


Children with Incarcerated Parents

Having a parent in prison can impact a child’s mental health, social behavior, and educational prospects. The emotional trauma that may occur and the practical difficulties of a disrupted family life can be compounded by the social stigma that children may face because of having a parent in prison or jail. Children who have an incarcerated parent may experience financial hardship that results from the loss of that parent’s income. Some incarcerated parents face termination of parental rights because their children have been in the foster care system beyond the time allowed by law. Children of incarcerated parents may also have experienced trauma related to their parent’s arrest or experiences leading up to it and may be more likely to have faced other adverse childhood experiences, including witnessing violence or exposure to drug and alcohol abuse.

Incarcerated Youth

Around 2 million children and adolescents are arrested each year in the US.  Of these incarcerated youth a large proportion of them in the juvenile justice system are learning disabled, most commonly identified as having a specific learning disability or serious emotional disorders; learning disabilities may be mislabeled as disciplinary problems.  Certain characteristics such as low socioeconomic status, minority affiliation, and delinquent peer groups are strong predictors of juvenile delinquency.

School counselors are the relationship and behavioral specialists within a school whose job it is to help kids get the most out of school and to help them learn more effectively and efficiently.  It is therefore natural to assume from this definition that school counselors would be the individuals assigned the opportunity to assist formerly incarcerated youth transition back into the schools.  Six school counseling interventions address many of the needs that formerly incarcerated youth will need to transition back into the school and the community and get the most out of school:  individual counseling, small group counseling, large group counseling, peer facilitator training and projects, consultation (including parent education), and coordination of guidance services.






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