Children of Incarcerated Parents
- 1 in 17 children in VT (6% of all children from birth to 18 years) experiences a parent’s incarceration.
- On any given day, 1600 VT children have a parent in prison.
- Over the course of a year, parental incarceration affects 6000 VT children.
- 8% of VT inmates experienced the incarceration of a parent or loved one when they were a child.
From Report to the VT Legislature on Act 168, submitted January, 2015 by the VT Agency of Human Services
These Are Our Children
Parental incarceration is different than other forms of absence of a parent. There is an unshakeable cloud of stigma and shame that accompanies the child through no fault of their own. They don’t have opportunities to talk about it. Children often feel that they caused it. Most often, they struggle to balance their anger and sense of abandonment with their continuing love for the special person that is their parent. Their lives are disrupted, chaotic, often complicated by poverty and ongoing trauma. They are more likely than their peers to have anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, and serious behavioral challenges. It is not hard to see why they have a 75% likelihood of being incarcerated someday themselves.
“Mass incarceration is the greatest threat to child welfare in the United States.”