When a parent is incarcerated | TahoeDailyTribune.com

When a parent is incarcerated

For the past two years, Tahoe Youth & Family Services has taken on the responsibility of recruiting caring, adult mentors for children in the community who have a parent in prison or jail. As the program enters its third year, the program staff hopes to ensure that any child who wants or needs a mentor be matched in a nurturing, stable relationship. Identifying children with a parent in prison can be difficult. Establishing a good relationship with the child’s caregiver is crucial in making sure matches are successful.

Another challenge is finding responsible, caring adults who are willing to commit to an hour each week for a minimum of one year. These time commitments are vital in protecting the emotions of the child. When attachments are formed and then broken, the relationship mentor and mentee can experience more harm than good.

According to national statistics, there are more than 1.5 million children with one or both parent in prison. Fifty-nine percent of these children are younger than 10. Many of these children grow up without the benefits of the guidance of a reliable adult in their lives. A U.S. Senate report indicates that without appropriate modeling from a responsible adult, these children are six times more likely to be incarcerated at some point in their lives.

Because this is such a critical issue, identifying these children in the Lake Tahoe area is a priority. Faith-based organizations, community agencies and individuals are invited to invest in an opportunity to help us help of children of promise.

For more information, contact Cheri Roberts, mentor coordinator, at (530) 541-2445, ext. 104, or e-mail cheri@tahoeyouth.org.

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