County needs to help kids whose moms are in jail

County needs to help kids whose moms are in jail
Editorial by Leonard Edwards and Susan Eilenberg, who is a trustee of the San Jose Unified School District and member of the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women. They wrote this for the San Jose Mercury News, February 3, 2017.

In response, a letter to the Editor:
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: February 7, 2017

Thanks to Judge Len Edwards and Susan Ellenberg for highlighting the need “to help kids whose moms are in jail” (Opinion, Feb. 3). Studies show parental incarceration has a profound impact on children due to the trauma of separation, the secrecy that often surrounds it, the stigma the child feels, and the financial hardships that can result in lifelong poverty. There is also data to show that a father’s incarceration has a particularly negative influence on boys who are more likely to have increased juvenile delinquency and are less likely to complete college.

We need to implement Edwards’ and Ellenberg’s recommended steps to decrease incarceration of mothers. We also need to design a support system for families affected by incarceration that includes programs to encourage parentchild connection, social-emotional support for children, and financial supports that relieve the chronic stress of having a missing wage-earner.

Dana Bunnett
Director, Kids in Common Planned Parenthood Mar Monte