The Voices of Five African American Children of Incarcerated Parents
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On any given day, more than two million children are affected by the incarceration of their parents. A plethora of research has been gathered from the point of view of others involved in this American travesty, such as the imprisoned parents, the justice system, and caregivers; however, little research has been done from the view of the children themselves. With one in nine African American children having a parent in prison this study is timely; providing an in-depth view from the perspective of African American high school students who have experienced parental incarceration. Information was gathered revealing the perceptions of these students toward their education and school. The method of data collection was a case study. The results of this study provide insight for educators addressing the needs of the growing number of children of incarcerated parents in the classroom and school settings. This study found African American adolescents of incarcerated parents face a multitude of risk factors that impinge upon their education such as, frequent mobility, emotional instability and missing their parents, all while keeping their parent’s incarceration hidden. From their own voices, educators and administrators will know what the participants believe is needed to ensure future success. An important recommendation stemming from the study encourages educators to form positive relationships with these students. Many CIP’s are invisible in schools. In order for educators to identify these students, they must develop a positive rapport and build relationships. Therefore, strategies for building a positive rapport with students are included. These five students told their stories, now it is time for educators to listen, act and rise to the occasion.
Larke, Altricia (2014). The Voices of Five African American Children of Incarcerated Parents. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from