How Parental Incarceration Affects a Children’s Education
From The Atlantic:
How Parental Incarceration Affects a Child’s Education
“Through it all, children suffer.”
Alia Wong; NOV 11, 2015
Wong writes that "[t]hese children do indeed fall off the public radar, as do the 2 million or so additional U.S. children who’ve previously had a parent in prison, according to a recent Child Trends report. All in all, the report’s researchers, David Murphey and P. Mae Cooper, analyzed the National Survey of Children’s Health to conclude that more than 5 million kids—or one in 14 U.S. children—have at one time or another experienced parental incarceration. And that number, they argue, “is almost certainly an underestimate,” in part because that statistic only applies to residential parents—not parents who’ve never lived with their children. Unsurprisingly, parental incarceration is most prevalent among black, poor, and rural children.
Research has long found that children who have (or have had) a parent behind bars tend to suffer from problems including poor health, behavior challenges, and grade retention, but it’s been difficult to suss out the degree to which those issues are attributable more generally to other realities common in communities with high incarceration rates. “It can be challenging to disentangle the effects of parental incarceration from … other risk factors, such as extreme poverty,” Murphey and Cooper write. “Complicating matters further, parental incarceration can also exacerbate these associated risk factors, through loss of income, for example.”