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October 29, 2020 Thursday 10:19:45 AM IST

Importance of investing resources in parent-child visitation programmes

Parent Interventions

When a parent goes to prison, children are likely to face a torrent of emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, fear, and guilt. Now a Columbia University study reveals the enduring affection and admiration children continue to have for a parent in prison and highlights the difficulties these children face when they are forcibly separated from a parent they love. One-in-28 children in the United States—2.7 million—currently have a parent in state or federal prison. Research has shown that many children of incarcerated parents face significant hurdles transitioning into adulthood, including poor health, post-traumatic stress symptoms, behavior problems, attention deficits, and developmental delays. The Columbia study, one of the first focused on understanding the experiences of children with incarcerated parents, highlights the importance of visitation programs that allow children and parents to interact.

To conduct their study, the researchers interviewed 24 6-to 12-year-old children of incarcerated parents and 60 children in the same age range whose parents were not incarcerated. Both groups reported experiencing positive emotions (like loved and happy) much more often than negative emotions (like angry and sad) when thinking about their parents.

(Content Courtesy:  Carla Cantor,