As the incidence of maternal incarceration has increased, a growing number of children have been affected by separation from their mothers and consequent disruptions to family life. Children of incarcerated parents (CIPs) often experience high levels of stress and unstable home lives, and are at risk for negative social and behavioral outcomes. Also, their caregivers are typically overburdened and often have few resources to help. Changes in care-taking roles and responsibilities, changes in schools and residences, and financial strains place additional stress upon families affected by incarceration.
To address these challenges, Motherly Intercession, Inc., a community-based organization in Flint, Michigan, provides academic and social-emotional programs for CIPs, their parents, and their current caregivers in Genesee County, Michigan. Strengthening Incarcerated Families is a collaborative project with the Prevention Research Center of Michigan and includes two interventions:
We found that families who participated in the program reported improved family communication and organization; caregivers reported using positive parenting strategies more frequently, and also reported fewer depression symptoms, after participating in the intervention.