Essay on Abounding Needs: Children of Incarcerated Parents

1598 Words Nov 21st, 2010 7 Pages
Incarceration has become a norm in our society. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that prison population exceeded a record-breaking 2 million last year. Considering higher rates of incarceration, we can easily deduce that more parents are incarcerated now than ever before. The children of these parents are undoubtedly affected. Sadly, these children are often considered a collective group with a particular set of needs-- that is, basic needs like food, clothing and shelter (Johnson and Waldfogel, 2002). However, each child of an incarcerated parent has emotional and psychological needs specific to his/her situation that must be met. Meeting these needs will help ensure positive growth and development.

Many factors must be considered
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Children often become attached to mentors. Mentors become new friends or just like family. The down side to most mentoring programs is that children are subject to being paired with a new mentor each year. The relationship between a mentor and her mentee is illustrated in the poems below. Poem by a Mentee

Some people specialize in doing thoughtful deeds,
Before you ask they understand your problems and your needs.
They help because they want to; they find joy in being kind,
And making others happy is the first thing on their mind.
They make this world a better place by practicing the art,
Of reaching out to others' and by "Giving from the heart."

Mentee Anonymous Poem by a Mentee to her Mentor

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
This poem is from me to you.
So follow me to a sweet tree.
Then follow me to my knee.
Then we will have fun.
We will not have a gun.
I do not want you to leave me for another mentee.
I want you to stay with me.
So we can have some more fun.

PS from Merissa to Ms Jennifer

The poem illustrates that mentoring programs can be beneficial. On the other hand, after a child with an incarcerated parent has been made to deal with being separated from a parent, the last thing he/she needs is to be crushed by the termination of a relationship formed with a mentor. A parent-child relationship cannot be replaced or substituted for. Children with incarcerated parents not only need positive relationships, but they
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