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Tonight in the U.S at least 2.7 million children will go to bed denied access to their parents because that parent(s) is behind bars. One in every 29 children, in the United States, has an incarcerated parent.

The State of New York alone is home to over 100,000 children who have one or more incarcerated parents. The number of women in prison increased by 587% between 1980 and 2011, rising from 15,118 to 111,387.

Children of prisoners face some of life’s harshest challenges, including poverty, violence, limited opportunities for a good education, and a future that seems to hold little to no promise. Often, their academic performance deteriorates and they develop other school-related difficulties, and possibly behavioral problems. In addition, they face the added trauma of being ridiculed by their peers. These children often suffer in silence.

Despite their numbers, and the intensified risks they face, these children and their families remain mostly invisible to policymakers and social service organizations. Even within their own communities where they are expected to thrive and become positive contributors as adults.

Parental incarceration is recognized as an “adverse childhood experience” (ACE); it is distinguished from other childhood experiences by the unique combination of trauma, shame, stigma and lack the family support structure desperately needed to develop socially, emotionally, and academically. As a result, they often fall victim to the inter-generational cycle of incarceration by the time they reach their teenage years.

60% of imprisoned mothers say they maintain some form of weekly contact with their children; 40% of fathers do so.

Fewer than half of imprisoned mothers and fathers report a personal visit with their children since going to state prison.

Their new caregivers tend to have low incomes and may lack the social supports and other resources necessary to meet the children’s complex needs.

Additionally, 37% of the prison population has had at least one family member incarcerated, and 22% of all minor children with a parent in prison are under five years old.

Our goal is to instill hope, optimism, and a road map for the future in the forgotten children of Harlem’s incarcerated population. This means providing a safe university environment in which they are naturally exposed higher learning, giving them high-quality STEM tutoring and mentoring support, inspiring them to see those in STEM careers up close, and helping them chart a path leading to STEM occupations.

We strongly believe that to whom our youth are around pretty much guarantees where our youth are headed.

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For more information on any of our programs or to enroll a child, please contact our main office at 212.650.5894. You can email us at info@inarmsreach.net