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Report Links Parent Jailtime To Health Problems For Their Kids

Michael Coghlan

Indiana has the second-highest percentage in the nation of children who have a parent who’s been incarcerated. A new study shows this can have long lasting effects on a child’s wellness.

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 11-percent of Hoosier children have a parent who has been incarcerated.  A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights the impact that time behind bars has on children.

Associate Professor at IU School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children Pediatric Dr. Matthew Aalsma, says the report is a valuable tool.

“It’s really helpful to have this report that makes connections to health outcomes, I think that’s one of the things that hasn’t been as obvious to practitioners in the field,” he says.

The report connects a range of issues that can lead to later poor health outcomes, including anxiety and depression. Aalsma says being separated from a parent can lead other problems.

“The emotional, the parenting, the benefit of learning how to cope with difficult situations that is simply more difficult without a parent there,” he says.

There are also recommendations on how to provide support to these children including support programs like food and health initiatives, especially in communities that are disproportionately affected by incarceration.

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